Justice - Theories of Distributive Justice

Theories of Distributive Justice

Main article: Distributive justice

Theories of distributive justice need to answer three questions:

  1. What goods are to be distributed? Is it to be wealth, power, respect, some combination of these things?
  2. Between what entities are they to be distributed? Humans (dead, living, future), sentient beings, the members of a single society, nations?
  3. What is the proper distribution? Equal, meritocratic, according to social status, according to need, based on property rights and non-aggression?

Distributive justice theorists generally do not answer questions of who has the right to enforce a particular favored distribution. On the other hand, property rights theorists argue that there is no "favored distribution." Rather, distribution should be based simply on whatever distribution results from non-coerced interactions or transactions (that is, transactions not based upon force or fraud).

This section describes some widely held theories of distributive justice, and their attempts to answer these questions.

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