Philosophy 216 - 11.4.1 Distributive Justice

One of the important differences among the ideologies examined below is how they approach the question of distributive justice. Distributive justice can be seen as a moral framework made up of principles that seek to ensure the greatest amount of fairness with respect to distributions of wealth, goods, and services (Olsaretti 2018). However, there is much debate surrounding what amounts to fairness. Is a just society one that provides for its members, allocating resources based on need, or is it one that allows for the greatest amount of personal freedom, even if that means that some members are radically better off than others? Furthermore, given that individuals begin at varying positions of social and economic status, should a society focus on meeting the needs of its disadvantaged members even if that results in an unequal distribution of goods, or should there be as little governmental interference as possible?

It is tempting to see distributive justice as a theoretical moral concern. However, views on what constitute basic needs, what resources should be considered public versus private, and whether or not there should be restrictions on the free market have real, practical ramifications when considered by governing bodies. Given this, it is important to keep in mind the role that principles of distributive justice play in the ideologies discussed below.

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The content of this course has been taken from the free Philosophy textbook by Openstax