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Lecture 11

ECON BC 2075y Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Martha Nussbaum, Amartya Sen, Human Nature

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ECON BC 2075y
Belinda Archibong

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11. Distributive Justice: Utilitarianism vs Capabilities Approach Part I
Post questions about how before 5pm Monday
Hw due Tues by 11:59pm
Inequality and Justice, Sen, Nussbaum and the capabilities approach
Session 11 Topics
Is inequality good? - on equal opportunities and freedoms to achieve
Critiques of Rawls- towards capabilities
On Sen and Nussbaum
Critiques of utilitarianism
Capabilities approach
Gender equality
Is Inequality ‘Good’, Fair?
Acts as an incentive for ppl to work harder, need something for people to strive
Ppl can compete and innovate→ more technology→ more economic
Wealth of rich trickles down to the poor→ labor demanded increases
“Cut taxes to rich” → creates more jobs
Virtuous cycle: Capital growth in hands of the few leads to
specialization of labor in economy→ labor is specialized→ more
productivity→ surplus→ capital grows→ hire more workers (smith)
This is what is supposed to happen
What actually happens is that people park their money in assets (stocks,
swiss banks) aka unproductive assets
Inequality is fair because it rewards those that work hard (if equal opportunity)
Rawls recapped
Utilitarians don’t care about individuals
All views of what justice should be before Rawls came in
Ladder example→ if you increase the position of the worst off, the best will then
also be better off
Rawls, really ground-breaking on distributive justice- against
utilitarianism (marxists and positivists)
Individual is important
Justice and primary goods
find more resources at
find more resources at
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