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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

How The Sufficiency Minimum Becomes A Social Maximum, Karl Widerquist Nov 2010

How The Sufficiency Minimum Becomes A Social Maximum, Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist

This article argues that, under likely empirical conditions, sufficientarianism leads not to an easily achievable duty to maintain a social minimum but to the onerous duty of maintaining a social maximum at the sufficiency level. This happens because sufficientarians ask us to give no weight at all to small benefits for people above the sufficiency level if the alternative is to relieve the suffering of people below it. If we apply this judgment in a world where there are rare diseases and hard-to-prevent accidents that cause people to fall below the sufficiency threshold, all of our discretionary spending will have ...


Lockean Theories Of Property: Justifications For Unilateral Appropriation, Karl Widerquist May 2010

Lockean Theories Of Property: Justifications For Unilateral Appropriation, Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist

Although John Locke’s theory of appropriation is undoubtedly influential, no one seems to agree about exactly what he was trying to say. It is unlikely that someone will write the interpretation that effectively ends the controversy. Instead of trying to find the one definitive interpretation of Locke’s property theory, this article attempts to identify the range of reasonable interpretations and extensions of Lockean property theory that exist in the contemporary literature with an emphasis on his argument for unilateral appropriation. It goes through Locke’s argument point-by-point discussing the controversy over what he said and over what he ...


What Does Prehistoric Anthropology Have To Do With Modern Political Philosophy? Evidence Of Five False Claims, Karl Widerquist May 2010

What Does Prehistoric Anthropology Have To Do With Modern Political Philosophy? Evidence Of Five False Claims, Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist

This paper is a very early and very preliminary report of some of the findings from the research project, "Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy." The project will lead to at least one book, perhaps two. The basic argument of the project is that influential, modern political theories often rely on dubious claims about prehistory. It examines the political philosophy literature to show how these claims are used as essential premises in influential arguments. It then examines evidence from anthropology, archaeology, and history to show that these claims are dubious. This paper previews many of the findings from the book.


Lessons Of The Alaska Dividend, Karl Widerquist Dec 2009

Lessons Of The Alaska Dividend, Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist

At a time when progressive social policies are under attack across the industrialized world, the Alaska Dividend continues to be extremely popular. It distributes a yearly dividend to every man, woman, and child in Alaska without any conditions whatsoever. It has helped Alaska maintain one of the lowest poverty rates in the United States. It has helped Alaska become the most economically equal of all 50 states. And it has helped Alaska become the only U.S. state in which equality has risen rather than fallen over the last 20 years. Certainly Alaska is doing something right. As newsletter editor ...


I Have A Basic Income, Karl Widerquist Dec 2009

I Have A Basic Income, Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist

In a period of about eight months, I managed to save and invest enough money to get myself a small personal basic income. It was easy—if you get the kind of lucky breaks I got. I’m telling you this story only because it illustrates how much our economic fortunes are determined by luck, how favorably our laws treat people who own stuff (people who have obtained control of natural resources) and how much unearned income is available for redistribution.