New Directions in Economic Justice

New Directions in Economic Justice

New Directions in Economic Justice

New Directions in Economic Justice

Excerpt

Economists make their contribution to the good life by bringing the human community to a deeper understanding of the way the social system depends upon and is modified by its material base. Over the past decade, following the pioneer work of John Rawls, the efforts of economists to facilitate such communal self-understanding have frequently taken the form of efforts to formulate and justify theories of economic justice. This Volume IV of the Notre Dame Studies in Political Economy presents the contributions of seven scholars, operating from varying perspectives and from divergent points of the ideological compass, in an effort to articulate rules of justice that the community of mankind could adopt as the basis for economic and social cooperation. The papers are original essays specifically written and edited for this volume and are based on lectures delivered at the University of Notre Dame during the 1979-80 academic year.

In his essay, David L. Norton, finding that the demands of justice flow from each individual's responsibility to fulfill the unique demands of his personal daimon, takes good government to be but an "intermediate staging ground ... set to the ... nurturing of self discovery...." In this context, he finds contemporary efforts at workplace reform encouraging, though "insufficiently radical" to bring about the full matching of worker and job required for establishing a thoroughly just society. Warning that "an open society cannot survive if its government is viewed as an instrument for arbitrary transfers," James M. Buchanan in the next paper proceeds to a consideration of injustice in hiring practices. Finding that the competitive market may fail to achieve compliance with the basic justice precept of "equal treatment for equals," he expresses profound reservations about the "meanderings of the Supreme Court . . ."

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