What did Robert Nozick mean?

  1. Tom Koecke profile image60
    Tom Koeckeposted 6 years ago

    Robert Nozick made a compelling argument that the redistribution of wealth was unjust in his book "Anarchy, State, and Utopia." He used the Wilt Chamberlain example, in which he said (though I paraphrase) that if wealth were distributed equally, and people were to pay Wilt Chamberlain to entertain them, that it is just for Wilt Chamberlain to have more money. Further, that it is unjust to tax Wilt Chamberlain more than other people for the purpose of returning money to those who paid him simply because they had needs they could no longer afford. He argued that to do so is the same as enslaving him.

    His argument was brilliant. After all, is it not unjust to pay someone for their services, and then forcefully take the payment back to return it to those who willingly paid it?

    However, in another book, "The Examined Life: Philosophical Meditations," Nozick wrote that his previous political writings were "seriously inadequate" stating that economic justice was but one consideration. He added that other considerations, such as "official concern with issues or problems" might override individual ownership legitimately.

    What did Robert Nozick mean when he said that?