Res Publica

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 301–318 | Cite as

Three Types of Sufficientarian Libertarianism

  • Fabian WendtEmail author


Sufficientarian libertarianism is a theory of justice that combines libertarianism’s focus on property rights and non-interference with sufficientarianism’s concern for the poor and needy. Persons are conceived as having stringent rights to direct their lives as they see fit, provided that everyone has enough to live a self-guided life. Yet there are different ways to combine libertarianism and sufficientarianism and hence different types of sufficientarian libertarianism. In the article I present and discuss three types, and I argue that the last one overcomes the problems of the other two. The first type combines libertarianism with a sufficiency principle in what is sometimes called the ‘ethics of distribution’. The second incorporates modest welfare rights into a libertarian theory of justice. The third endorses a sufficientarian Lockean proviso for practices of private property within a libertarian theory of justice. I argue that it is superior to the others.


Libertarianism Sufficientarianism Lockean proviso Property rights Welfare rights Sufficiency 



I would like to thank Kasper Ossenblok and several anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chapman University, Smith Institute for Political Economy and PhilosophyOrangeUSA

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