Without Me, Without You: Cooperation and Scarcity

Gijs van Donselaar

in The Right to Exploit

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780195140392
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199871483 | DOI:
Without Me, Without You: Cooperation and Scarcity

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In Morals by Agreement David Gauthier seeks to demonstrate that compliance with what he calls “the Lockean proviso,”—which prohibits taking advantage of other people—is individually rational. This chapter begins by examining the merits (and shortcomings) of Gauthier's argument for accepting the Lockean proviso, and argues that he has failed to demonstrate the rationality of complying with the proviso. It argues against the idea that private endowments as unrestricted property rights can be consistent with the Lockean proviso, and concludes that the Lockean proviso warrants a system of flexible (even “evanescent”) and restricted use rights in resources—more like “concessions” or “franchises”—such that those who produce most efficiently will be secured access to productive opportunities. The “Lockean” definition of parasitism is then compared to the socialist definition of “exploitation,” and it is shown that they are markedly distinct, conceptually and in their normative consequences.

Keywords: Moral by Agreement; David Gauthier; Lockean proviso; rationality

Chapter.  21440 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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