Academic journal article Studia Politica; Romanian Political Science Review

Justifiability of Taxation in Universal Provision of Healthcare 1

Academic journal article Studia Politica; Romanian Political Science Review

Justifiability of Taxation in Universal Provision of Healthcare 1

Article excerpt


In this paper2 I aim to provide one possible way of defending taxation. I will do so by refuting Nozick's defence of private property and inviolable rights showing that there is no absolute entitlement to private property. I will then rebut Cohen's rejection of private property embodying theft and, at the same time, his advocacy of common ownership. Also, I will show that while private property can't be inviolable, the benefits it brings provide a strong argument for its defence. I will further pursue a communitarian approach advocating priority of the society over an individual and reject a purely individualistic approach to a person. On the basis of these two assumptions I will proceed with claiming that taxation is justifiable as a means of providing public goods which are to the common good of all polity members.

In the second section, I will outline the benefits of private property and pursue the idea that since taxation benefits all members of a polity, it is unreasonable for someone to claim that he doesn't intend to benefit from the joint enterprise of life in a society. Therefore, inspired by the fair play theory, I aim to show that taxation is justifiable and coercion to pay taxes is acceptable.

In the following section I will apply the problem of taxation to the area of healthcare, addressing common intuitions and approaches justifying universal provision of healthcare. I will recognise the rights approach as well as the one departing from a refusal of disadvantage and equality as economically problematic, and hence demonstrate that a difference principle based on making the worse off as best off as possible presents a plausible approach of defending universal provision of healthcare. Moreover, I will argue that due to the fact that universal provision of healthcare is to the benefit of all and of the society as a whole, providing it through taxation is acceptable and desirable. I will then briefly address the extent to which healthcare should be provided and advocate the view that it can't be determined by a fixed list of services but adapted to the particular circumstances of every society.

In the concluding section I will address some key problems that universal provision of healthcare presents from an economical perspective and pursue the view that while regulation and redistribution are necessary, they must be kept to the lowest level in order to preserve the advantages of capitalism as well as of universal provision of healthcare

Implausibility of Inviolable Rights to Private Property

I will start by criticising the libertarian defence of private property and inviolable rights. By showing the implausibility of the libertarian approach I aim to demonstrate that taxation is justifiable. I will contrast the libertarian approach to Cohen's - condemning private property as theft - and show why his view is not plausible either and illustrate that private property can be defended on the basis of its indispensability for human flourishing. I will thus show that an unconditional approach to private property is unreasonable and that it needs to be viewed from a more utilitarian perspective.

Nozick's self-ownership thesis, on which he bases his understanding of rights3, requires an individual to be self-sufficient. I make this claim because we can't say that we fully own our bodies if we aren't able to preserve them without external aid. But Nozick's historical approach to rights4 makes the self-ownership thesis implausible due to the problem of infinite regress. For us to be able to own ourselves, we need to be born. We also need to have the resources vital for survival at our disposal. Similarly, those who provide these resources and enable our birth, in their turn, needed to be supplied with corresponding resources and be given birth. This regressing line goes back to the first human couple. As is evident, the creation and continuance of our life depended on the acquisition of resources indispensable for life. …

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