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Consequentialist libertarianism (also known as libertarian consequentialism or consequentialist liberalism, in Europe) refers to the libertarian position that is supportive of a free market and strong private property rights only on the grounds that they bring about favorable consequences, such as prosperity or efficiency.
What consequentialist libertarians advocate is derived simply through cost–benefit calculation, taking a broad account of consequences. It is contrasted with deontological libertarianism, also known as "natural-rights libertarianism," which considers the initiation of force and fraud to be immoral, regardless of consequences. Unlike deontological libertarians, consequentialist libertarians do not necessarily see all cases of initiation of force as immoral and never see it as inherently immoral (i.e., they do not express a belief in natural rights). Rather, their position is that political and economic liberty lead to the best consequences in the form of happiness and prosperity, and for that reason alone it should be supported. (Some libertarians may have a conception of libertarianism that is a hybrid of consequentialism and deontology).
Unlike deontological libertarians, consequentialist libertarians advocate actions they believe bring about favorable consequences regardless of whether these constitute initiation of force. For example, unlike deontological libertarians, in addition to support for involuntary taxes, some consequentialists libertarians support eminent domain. Particular views vary among consequentialist libertarians, with political theorist David D. Friedman supporting a consequentialist form of anarcho-capitalism where the content of law is bought and sold rather than there being an established legal code forbidding initiation of force.
Notable consequentialist libertarians
- Chicago school of economics
- Classical economics
- Classical liberalism
- Debates within libertarianism
- Decentralized knowledge
- Free-market environmentalism
- Natural rights libertarianism
- Optimal tax
- Public choice school of economics
- Subjective theory of value
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