Wealth Redistribution, 2

Victor Reppert thinks that the libertarian argument against government theft is that goods in the market are distributed according to some sort of merit. Not so. The distribution is according to productivity or contribution to the happiness of the consumers.

Therefore, counter-arguments to the effect that there is economic luck and therefore merit is diluted are irrelevant. In fact, we want to have as much good luck for entrepreneurs as possible, even if luck is distributed unequally or even if that results in wealth accruing to "undeserving" -- according to Victor's own preferred moral theory -- people, because such luck will help people to succeed and cause greater consumer satisfaction.

But speaking of merit understood as a simple idea that workers deserve their wages, is it standard procedure for God to take the righteousness that person A has already acquired, rip it out of his soul, and transfer that righteousness to person B who presently lacks it? But if this is not done with moral goods or perfect happiness, why are we so sanguine about doing the same thing with worldly goods and imperfect happiness?

Furthermore, there are numerous things that are required for happiness in life other than marketable commodities and services. From beauty and cheerfulness to friends and honor, none of those things can be shoveled around by the coercive machinery of state. If they could be redistributed, would they have to be? If not, why not?

At any rate, we can't really discuss "distribution" of wealth without a theory of property, its just possession and acquisition, and a theory of violence, namely, a way to tell which actions aggress against person or property unjustly. If the inequalities are just, then they are not problematic. Victor would need to outline his own notions on these matters.

Under redistribution, the connection between the cause of wealth, namely, faithful service to the consumers, and personal wealth as the effect is severed.

For producers, because the cause is weakened. They work but gain little.

For the parasites, the recipients of state welfare, because the effect occurs without the cause.

These corrupt the essence of capitalism which is based in the final analysis on mutual aid or mutual service.

To put it another way, the essential feature of capitalism is freedom of contract, that is, a mutually beneficial agreement to exchange goods or services. Capitalism habituates us to think of property and violence in libertarian terms. Government redistributionism is a glaring exception to the rule. As such, it undermines capitalism and is a decivilizing influence.

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