The Moral Dimensions of Poverty, Entitlements, and Theft
Walter E. Block
Loyola University New Orleans - Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business
Journal of Markets and Morality, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 83-93, Spring 2001
In the view of many commentators and pundits, all citizens have an entitlement to be relieved of their poverty, which they believe, would best be accomplished by throwing other people's money at the poor. This article makes the case that not only do the impoverished not have any such right, but the attempt to furnish them with wealth earned by others constitutes theft and does not help them in any case. Given, however, that such entitlements exist, what is the proper moral response? To approach an answer to this question, this article defines and then applies libertarian class analysis to the question and derives from this perspective some counterintuitive conclusions regarding welfare recipients and reparations for past invasions of person and property.
Keywords: poverty, entitlements, theft, libertarianism
JEL Classification: A13, I38, I31
Date posted: August 8, 2006