The folowing question comes from justiceharvard.org.
According to philosopher Robert Nozick, when the government takes even a dollar from Bill Gates, a billionaire, and gives it to a poor person, it is like forcing Gates to work for the poor person. Is Nozick right to think that redistributive taxation is like forced labor? Should there be no redistributive taxation whatsoever?
Below a top rated answer.
SECOND, please imagine a world where the poor/elderly/diseased/mentally ill are all left to their own devices. It shouldn’t be hard because there are plenty of countries where this is true. Please tell me what kind business environment this produces? The answer is a hellish and diseased dystopia (and not conducive to business at all). Therefore, calling aid to the poor “theft” is a false choice. Today, business wants a clean and shiny place to operate, but wants others to provide and pay for it –even as they demean them as “altruists.”
THIRD, is the false notion that “heroes” were able to become successful on their own. China does not yet have an interstate (or inter -province in their case) highway system, therefore it is still impossible for them to move goods and services to potential consumers, OR to move workers to places of employment effectively. In India, there are no modern cities without daily power outages. Sewage in both countries causes problems with disease and pollution. To think that someone like Michael Jordan or Bill Gates could have “made it rich” without having well paid consumers to purchase their products, or without media transmissions, and so on — lacks credulity. If Michael Jordan was bouncing a ball in the grass in the middle of an impoverished nation (there would be no neighborhood parks or basketball courts) he would not have become wealthy or famous.
What do you think?
What makes redistributive taxation forced labor? Isn’t the person above right at least in his third statement?
If the rich don’t provide for the poor how will the poor buy their products and services. And yet, if the poor become richer (in services and facilities) would they thrive for more?
Personally I think that redistributive taxation has a positive impact to the greater community therefore it must be good, as long as it has its limits. It’s not the communist extreme but actually very democratic. In order for society to work you need all different classes of people to co-exist. If you don’t support the poor by raising their standards of living how will you continue to run your society?
The episode where Michael Sandel discusses it can be found here.