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Liberty, Political Rights and Wealth Transfer Taxation

Journal of Applied Philosophy

Published online on


Libertarians famously contend that the minimal state is the most just social arrangement because it secures individual freedoms and basic political rights. They also oppose wealth transfer taxation, i.e. taxation of inheritances, bequests, and inter vivos gifts, arguing that it violates people's right to use their wealth freely. However, as I argue, libertarian opposition to wealth transfer taxation causes practical problems for their commitment to a minimal state, as there is strong empirical evidence demonstrating that wealth transfer taxation is required to secure the political rights necessary for a free and stable society. In other words, I contend that without an effective wealth transfer tax, it will be difficult to ensure political rights and basic freedoms, thus leaving the libertarian minimal state in peril of collapse.