Sociology Index


Left-libertarianism endorses full self-ownership, but differs on unappropriated natural resources. Left-libertarianism, also known as left-wing libertarianism. Left-libertarianism holds that unappropriated natural resources belong to everyone and must be distributed in some egalitarian manner. Left-libertarians differ from other libertarians with respect to how much people can appropriate in terms of unowned natural resources. Though all libertarians hold that there is some constraint on how resources can be appropriated, left-libertarians insist that this constraint has a distinctively egalitarian character. Left-libertarianism can imply egalitarian redistribution.

Right-libertarianism holds that unappropriated natural resources may be appropriated by individuals. left-libertarians think it implausible that people who first use or claim natural resources thereby become entitled to unequal benefits. Since natural resources are not created or produced as such, left-libertarians claim that the value of these resources belongs in some sense to everyone. Leonard Read rejected the concepts of left and right libertarianism, calling them "Authoritarianism." Libertarianism is a term used by political philosophies which seek to promote individual liberty and seek to minimize or abolish the state.

"Left-libertarians say what is yours legally might not be yours morally, it all depends how you got it." University of Manchester professor Hillel Steiner. In addition to his extensive writing on rights and theories of justice, Steiner’s claim to intellectual fame is his pioneering of the ideas of Left-Libertarianism. "When it comes to appropriating natural resources such as land, it’s not a matter of moral indifference as to who gets how much. All the stuff that’s not a product of human labour has to be divided equally."

Libertarian socialism is often used as a synonym for non-individualist anarchism or socialist anarchism, to dilineate it from individualist libertarianism. People who do not use libertarianism as a synonym for anarchism but use it to refer to individualistic free-market economy philosophy only, refer to free-market anarchism as libertarian anarchism. Libertarianism is also synonymous with classical liberalism. The word libertarian is an antonym of authoritarian. Till recently the term libertarianism was often used as a synonym for Anarchism.

The term "left-libertanism" has at least three meanings. It is a synonym either for anarchism in general or social anarchism in particular. Later it became a term for the left or Konkinite wing of the free-market libertarian movement. It has recently come to be applied to a position combining individual self-ownership with an egalitarian approach to natural resources. "Anarchism". In Gaus, Gerald F.; D'Agostino, Fred, eds. (2012). The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy. p. 227.

Books on Left-libertarianism

The Origins of Left-Libertarianism: An Anthology of Historical Writings - by Peter Vallentyne (Editor), Hillel Steiner (Editor).
Historically most important discussions of the philosophical foundations of left-libertarianism. Like the more familiar right-libertarianism, left-libertarianism holds that agents own themselves. Unlike right-libertarianism, however, left-libertarianism holds that natural resources are owned by the members of society in some egalitarian manner, and may be appropriated only with their permission, or with a significant payment to them.

Left-Libertarianism and Its Critics: The Contemporary Debate - by Peter Vallentyne (Editor), Hillel Steiner (Editor).
A collection of important recent writing on left-liberalism or left-libertarianism, a political philosophy that recognizes both strong liberty rights and strong demands for material equality.