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The contribution of some person to total output will depend not only on the value of their labor, but also on the value of the resources that they own. If the moral right to full control of what one owns is more tenuous than the moral right to fully control one's natural endowments, then the moral appeal of the wealth of those who are more productive and contribute more to output does not necessarily entail the moral appeal of the wealth of those who own more productive resources which contribute more to output. The link between the two is strongest it would seem when the property one owns has been gained in an ethically justifiable way such as the trader principle. This is certainly not the case for all property though. There can be no specific quantification, but we can be certain that some considerable portion of the property currently possessed can be traced back to wars of conquest, forcible removal of people from their land, slavery, and other coercive means that objectivists consider immoral. So, is the existing distribution of property tainted by its historical evolution?

asked Oct 25 '12 at 20:01

Ben%20Mills's gravatar image

Ben Mills ♦

edited Oct 25 '12 at 20:08

The existing distribution of property is a result of individual rights being recognized and protected, for the most part. Whatever property that was originally owned through force has been open to a market filled with buyers, sellers, investors, entrepreneurs, etc. Nowadays, you keep and maintain wealth/property insofar as you use your mind. Your race or royalty or social position cannot guarantee your success or failure or wealth any more. So any ties to past injustices are now broken, even if you inherited property that was originally taken by conquest.

(Oct 25 '12 at 22:40) user890 user890's gravatar image

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Asked: Oct 25 '12 at 20:01

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Last updated: Oct 25 '12 at 22:40