24. “Review of Narveson and Sterba’s Are Liberty and Equality Compatible?”


Abstract: This article reviews Jan Narveson and James Sterba’s co-authored book Are Liberty and Equality Compatible?. Sterba argues that negative liberty requires that the poor have a right not to be interfered with in taking from the rich to fulfill their basic needs. Narveson argues that negative liberty means that people agree not to coerce others and that taking from anyone (without their consent) violates negative liberty. The authors not only differ on this point, but, as contractarians, on what terms reasonable people would likely agree to in a “social contract.”