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If you view the world as one where the evil capitalists are exploiting the workers, I am pretty sure you would hold the view that workers have a right to withhold their services from employment. A corollary to that view is that workers have a right to bargain for a greater share of the pie when they do choose to employ themselves in the service of others.

But isn’t the view above akin to arguing that there is a pre-existing right, a natural right, of the more talented, the better endowed, the smarter, the more creative, the lucky, or those with better bargaining power to demand and obtain a larger share of output than others? If one wishes to argue that a worker has a right to hold out for a better deal, or simply to protest the mistreatment he is getting, then one must believe that this right not to work allows a worker to secure a better deal for himself than others if in fact he chooses to work.

In other words, people are not slaves, and therefore are free to employ or not to employ their time and talents and at the same time have a right to exclude others from taking their time and talents or employing their time and talents against their will. A few days ago we explored the inconsistency in holding the two beliefs that we should “return to nature” and also have a more egalitarian society. Today we suggested that it is perhaps inconsistent to hold dear the objectives of an egalitarian society and at the same time believe workers have a right to withhold their services.

If you have a right not to produce, then you must also have a right to claim the full fruits of your efforts – even if they result in an unequal final “distribution” of consumption goods.

One Response to “Do You Have a Right to Not Produce?”

  1. Harry says:

    You are one hundred percent correct. A Plus.

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