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Philosophy 2074F/G
Michael Herbert

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE  What a person deserves or is entitled by specific rules and laws, such as those governing state lotteries, food stamp allocations, health care coverage, admission procedures for universities and the like  The world justice is broadly used to cover both of these principles and specific rules derived from the same principles, but developed for specific situations  Prices can be high and low, but not fair or unfair, the practice of trade and currency for economists is not of moral fairness  The basis of this exclusion of price as a consideration of justice that the market established nature of prices and salaries  The term distributive justice refers to the proper distribution of social benefits and burdens – attempts to establish a connection between the properties or characteristics of persons and the morally correct distribution of benefits and burdens in a society  Egalitarian theories emphasise equal access to primary goods whereas libertarian theories emphasize rights to social and economic liberty and deemphasize collective control  Systematic theories of justice attempt to elaborate how people should be compared and what it means to give people what they are due  Each material principle of justice identifies a relevant property on the basis of which burdens and benefits should be distributed  The ideal distribution of benefits and burdens for a utilitarian is simply the one having this maximizing effect  Egalitarianism is radical in that it proposes that individual differences are always morally insignificant  Most egalitarian accounts are guardedly formulated, so that persons are not entitled to equal shares of all social benefits and so that individual merit justifies some differences in distribution  Egalitarians generally prefer progressive tax rates rather than proportional rates  Rawls presents this egalitarian theory as a direct challenge to utilitarianism  Impartiality is guaranteed by a conceptual device rawls calls the veil of ignorance  Rawls argues that under these conditions people would unanimously agree on two fundamental principles of justice. 1. That each person be permitted the maximum amount of basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others. 2. Stipulates that once this equal basic liberty is assured, inequalities in social primary goods are to be allowed only if they benefit everyone  The difference principle: inequalities are justifiable only if they maximally enhane the position of the representative least advantaged person, a hypothetical individual particularly unfortunate in the distribution of fortuitous characteristics or social advantages  The difference principle could afford extraordinary economic rewards to business entrepreneurs etc if the resulting economic situation were to produce improved job opportunities and working conditions for the least advantaged members of society, or possibly greater benefits for pension funds holding stock for the working class  The libertarian contends that it is basic violation of justice to ensure equal economic returns in a society 0 individuals are seen as having a fundamental right to own and dispense with the products of their labor as they choose, even if the exercise of this right leads to large inequalities of wealth in society  Nozick argues that a theory of justice should work to protect individual rights and should not propound a thesis intended to pattern society through arrangements such as those in socialist and impure capitalist countries in which governments take pronounced steps to redistribute wealth  Nozick is committed to procedural justice – there is no pattern of just distribution independent of fair procedures of acquisition transfer and rectification  It seems too many writers that their rights are violated whenever economic distributions leave persons with less than that minimal level.  A commitment to individual economic rights, then, may go hand in hand with a theory of justice that requires a more activist role for government  According to theories based on this material principle, justice places the satisfaction of fundamental human needs above the protection of economic freedoms or rights (or at least at the same level of importance)  The remarkable increase in FDI is one indicator of economic globalization  Critics of globalization says that it benefits the have rather than the have not’s, and left untreated it undermines rather than enhances human rights  Proponents of this view typically call for the creation of institutions that have both the power and legitimate authority to compensate for failed states, stabilize weak states and successful coerce successful states into respecting relevant ethical norms  Pogge argues that wealthy nations of the world are not doing enough to eradicate sever poverty  Argues that corporations routinely corrupt officials in developing nations AN EGALITARIAN THEORY OF JUSTICE  Laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust  Therefore in a just society the liberties of equal citizenship are taken as settled; the rights secured by justice are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of social interests
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