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PP110 march20.pdf

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Hugh R Alcock

PP110 March. 20/13 Lecture Theories of Distributive Justice  If in a community there are few members who hold most of the wealth and positions of power while the remaining members have next to nothing, it is commonly assumed that there is an unfair distribution of wealth and opportunity  This is what we would call an unjust society  It is understood that in fact most societies are to some degree unjust in this way. Consequently, members of such a society, ex- Canada, see a need to rectify the injustice, making their society fairer.  In order to build a just society or rectify an unjust one, we first need to determine what counts as a just society as such. Therefore, we need a comprehensive theory of justice.  Here we will begin by talking about economic distribution of wealth. Our concern more generally is with quality of life, but today with economic wealth comes power and influence which are closely related to quality of life of course.  Robert Nozik (1938-2002) offers a libertarian conception of justice that resists this way of...  “Nozick thus challenged the partial conclusion of John Rawls's Second Principle of Justice of his A Theory of Justice that "social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are to be of greatest benefit to the least-advantaged members of society." Nozick suggested, as a critique of Rawls and utilitarianism, that the sacrosanctity of life made property rights non-negotiable, such that an individual's personal liberty made state policies of redistribution illegitimate. This principle has served as a foundation for many right-libertarian arguments in modern politics.” (WIKIPEDIA)  Libertarianism- can be defined as defence of the right of free choice.  According to Nozik, a society is just only when the right (ie- protected freedoms) of its members are not violated. Call this his principle of justice. Any transaction which is not done with consent between the parties is therefore unjust, eg- taxation.  For Nozik, justice occurs when each transaction of power/ wealth (holdings) is just in its own right, that is, it has been consented to freely by both sides. This is the grounds for his entitlement theory of justice. A just society is one in which each member has holdings in accordance with her entitlements, ie- in accordance with what she acquires by voluntary agreement. This entitlement Theory can be basically laid out as follows: 1. A person who acquires a holding in accordance with the principle of justice in acquisitions is entitled to that holding 2. A person who acquires a holding in accordance with the principle of justice in transfer, from someone else entitled to the holding, is entitled to the holding *No one is entitled to a holding except by repeated application of 1) and 2)  By Nozik’s measure a just society only requires that the transfer and acquisition of holdings be just as he defines it above. It is largely irrelevant how fairly these hol
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