Self-Ownership Should Be More Controversial Than Property Ownership

Listening to Tom Woods’ discussion with Matt Zwolinski on Basic Income Guarantee (BIG), I had a thought I haven’t heard anyone else discuss.

Zwolinski favors taxation of property because a person does not create natural resources, but expropriates them from nature. Others have raised the question, if an individual does not have the right to lay claims on natural resources, why would a group of individuals have such a right? But my thought was, why does Zwolinski assume the self-evidentiary nature of self-ownership, but reject the idea of personal property-ownership, when if anything, society has a greater claim on an individual’s body and work than it does on property? That is, since a person likely would not exist apart from the actions of countless people in the past, does society not have a strong claim on the fruit of that individual’s mind and body? Since natural resources pre-date society, society’s claim on the fruits of those resources is much weaker by comparison.

My point is not to support income taxation or communism, but rather that if one correctly supports self-ownership, for deontological or utilitarian reasons, then supporting property-ownership and rejecting collectivist claims on property is a much smaller logical step.

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