On the Right to Private Property and Entitlement to One's Income

11 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2004

See all articles by Andrei Marmor

Andrei Marmor

Cornell University - Law School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 13, 2004


In this short essay I argue that the main insight of Murphy and Nagel's book, The Myth of Ownership, that people have no right to their pre-tax income, is not supported by their claim that the right to private property is not a natural right. The non-naturalness of the right to private property, I argue, is completely irrelevant to their moral argument. The plausibility of their moral conclusion derives from the thesis (which they also seem to endorse) that people do have a right to the fruits of their labor, maintaining, however, that there is no possible conception, morally speaking, of what the fruits of one's labor are, independent of a system of legal and social norms that constitute the terms of fair bargaining, pricing, etc. People can only have a right to a fair assessment of the added value of their labor, and the latter cannot make any sense independent of the entire system of norms prevailing in the relevant society. I argue that this conclusion is not affected by the nature of the right to private property.

Suggested Citation

Marmor, Andrei, On the Right to Private Property and Entitlement to One's Income (September 13, 2004). USC Public Law and Policy Research Paper No. 04-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=567784 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.567784

Andrei Marmor (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/faculty/bio_andrei_marmor.cfm

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