Freedom of opportunity, coercion and the employment contract.
Hi all. I’m new here. I would consider myself a Libertarian and while looking at possible transition avenues towards a more free and voluntary society, I was looking around issues such as property rights, minimum wage etc. It occurred to me there might be more forms of oppression, not just the state. When I was researching such issues as poverty, employment and minimum wage, I hit a snag with the currently accepted theories. Libertarianism state that all contracts should occur voluntarily, without coercion in such a way that both parties are able to walk away. But I could think of many instances in which this is not the case.
Ex: A single mother of 2 is working the lowest-paid unskilled job to feed herself and her children. She often struggles to make ends meet and thus cannot afford to save money. In such a position can she realistically refuse her employer’s demands? It seems to me that she can’t simply walk away as she needs the job for basic subsistence. In such a case isn’t her employer in a position to dictate the conditions of her contract whatever she says? If so how is she free? What can she realistically negotiate?
It occurs to me that when most Libertarians think about freedom, they strictly consider their liberty and rights independently of others. Thus they draw the (erroneous) conclusion that those (especially property rights) can expand indefinitely so long as they respect the non-aggression principle. But doesn’t your freedom end where mine begins?
Not all in this world are born on equal footing. Some are disabled and no matter how hard they work at things, they might never be able to do what most others can. Many in this world live with less than 2$ a day. Are they all guilty of making bad choices? Is there freedom without opportunity? Should we not (voluntarily) strive to make it so that all individuals have the chance (but not the obligation) to reach as much potential as individual freedom can allow?
As I have been struggling to find answers, I address it here in the hope that perhaps some of my fellow Libertarians can share their views on the matter (or perhaps recommend books).
Article from r/Libertarian: For a Free Society