Democratic Distributive Justice

Democratic Distributive Justice

Democratic Distributive Justice

Democratic Distributive Justice

Synopsis

By exploring the integral relationship between democracy and economic justice, this study explains how democratic countries with market systems should deal with the problem of high levels of income-inequality. The book provides an interdisciplinary approach that combines political, economic, and legal theory. It also analyzes the nature of economic society and the considerations bearing upon the ethics of relative pay, such as the nature of individual contributions and the extent of community. Hb ISBN (2000): 0-521-79033-6

Excerpt

Social aspects of the person should have a salience that they are not usually accorded in considerations of relative distribution. When their relation is adequately taken into account, economic justice can be seen to be different from that which is ordinarily posited. Conceptions of economic justice differ on the question of the relative distribution of income. But they do not sufficiently consider how some social aspects of the person might bear on the question. This book develops the view that these aspects of the person affect the degree of equality that is involved in the conception of economic justice.

A revised understanding of economic justice, derived from social premises, can then have implications for the nature of democracy. These implications are, however, often discounted in theories of democracy. For example, the “procedural” theory of democracy does not incorporate considerations of economic justice, because it views democracy and economic justice as separate concepts by defining democracy solely in terms of political equality. This book, by contrast, postulates an integral relation between democracy and economic justice that leads to the inclusion of principles of distributive justice within democratic rule. I develop a “substantive” theory, holding that the just distribution of economic resources is a defining characteristic of democratic rule. the theory cannot simply be synthesized with existing concepts of economic justice, because new principles for regulating the distribution of income and wealth are needed. These may be developed by revising the ethics of reward for economic contributions and the ethics of economic community.

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