Many welfare state programmes redistribute resources from some citizens to others. This book discusses whether such a redistribution can be justified by a theory of moral rights. Lesley Jacobs maintains that while many orthodox rights-based defences of state welfare are misconceived, it is nevertheless possible to defend programmes, such as universal access to health care and social security, on the grounds that they are required to fulfil the moral rights of individual citizens. Jacobs develops and defends the idea that access to basic rights, such as education, health care, adequate housing and income support can provide a solid moral foundation for redistributive state welfare programmes, maintaining that any nation which purports to take rights to basic liberties seriously must also be fully committed to the principles of the welfare state. His thesis addresses a pressing political and philosophical problem at the heart of the policies and structure of the modern state. His justification of the redistribution of resources should be of particular interest to political philosophers, lawyers and social policy analysts.
`This book ... has much to offer and is a welcome addition to ongoing debates not only on the justification of the welfare state and the problem of just redistribution, but also on personhood and the role of rights.'