MARX ON MONEY AND PROPERTY
money changes everything
o it transforms human relationships
o takes normal relationships and turns them into commodities
o relationships are degraded
money is the ―universal whore‖
o ultimately, everything is for sale— everything has a price
money talk debases our language
o use money instead of language to relate to others
o used to be ―worthy being‖, now about ―net worth‖
True Foundation of Private Property
―In actual history, it is a notorious fact that conquest, enslavement,
robbery, murder, in short, force, play the greatest part‖ – Karl Marx,
Capital, Vol 1
PROPERTY, UTILITY, RIGHTS, AND LIBERTY
The Problem of Distributive Justice
Who should get what?
What should be distributed?... Money? Opportunities? Rights?
What are Property Rights?
owners of resources have (limited) rights to determine what to do
ownership of objects, land, buildings, factories
cluster of rights: possess (exclude others), use, sell, give away,
What Justifies a System of Property Rights? Some Answers:
1. Promoting Utility
distribute goods in such a way that net happiness is higher than
2. Protecting Natural Rights
3. Securing Freedom
what matters, ultimately, is freedom
4. Ensuring Equality
equality of what, though?
Choose the distribution of goods/properties that maximizes well-being
impartiality: equal concern
o everyone for one and no one for more than one
diminishing marginal utility: equality o the more units you have of something, the less something is
worth to you at the margin
o works where there are a fixed set of goods (eg. 30 million
pairs of pants in Canada— give one to each person)
o allow some inequality of income— give everyone incentive to
work hard, and everyone will be better off as a result
No single answer to how goods should be distributed in utilitarianism—
depends on what produces the most happiness.
Basic rights include the right to private property.
entails free-market capitalism with a minimal state
o state should protect us against force, fraud… but otherwise
get out of the way
forced redistribution is illegitimate
o private property rights are absolute— redistribution should be
Rawls’ Liberal Egalitarianism
Unrestricted free markets generate unacceptable inequalities.
commitment to freedom means equal freedoms