By Daniel Raventos
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Additional info for Basic Income: The Material Conditions of Freedom
This third condition means that, in a free society, the person who has fewest opportunities will not have fewer than the person who has fewest opportunities in any other social arrangement we can hypothesise. If the opportunities available to those in the least favourable positions in the society in question are equal, then the society may be judged in terms of the two people on the next level up, and if this results in another draw, those of the next two people up, and so on. This is the lexicographic order, which I have already defined.
Van Parijs (1995: 26) says that this order of priorities should be applied with a light hand, which is to say that he ‘does not propose a rigid lexicographic approach’. To more practical effects, this light-handed approach to preferences among the three conditions means that small infractions of law and order might be tolerated if trying to avoid them would seriously jeopardise self-ownership. Imagine that, in order to avoid robberies (in other words, to avoid something that is a direct assault on the first condition, one’s own security) we would have to construct an immense police state.
1 THE LIBERTARIAN JUSTIFICATION: PROPERTY FIRST Libertarian political philosophy in the closing quarter of the twentieth century, mainly based on the work of Robert Nozick (1974), has been a great success in both academic and realworld terms. Nozick influenced and continues to influence advocates of a maximum dismantling of state forms of social protection, while his theory is also wielded by implacable enemies of property regulation and, still more, of any kind of redistribution of income from the rich to the poor.