Public Reason: Vol. 1, No. 1, February 2009
Left Libertarianism and the Ownership of Natural Resources
Hillel Steiner

In this paper I develop a natural resource based account of just redistribution. First, I show how rights to natural resources derive their singular importance from conditions rights have to meet. Then, I turn to the problem of self-ownership and defend a natural resources based solution against the view that we should state by moral fiat that everyone just is a selfowner. After discussing why my solution is a unifying handle on diverse intuitions we have about differential abilities and the fair distribution of their results, I conclude that our just rights to natural resources entitle each of us to an unconditional initial capital grant (not as a basic positive right). In the end I criticise Rawls’ classification of abilities and disabilities as products of circumstance and list some pre-theoretical intuitions my account succeeds in sustaining.

Key words: resource, ownership, rights, redistribution, abilities, libertarianism.


Steiner, Hillel. 2009. Left Libertarianism and the Ownership of Natural Resources. Public Reason 1 (1): 1-8.