While much has been written about social justice, even more has been written about democracy. Rarely is the relationship between social justice and democracy carefully considered. Does justice require democracy? Will democracy bring justice? This volume brings together leading authors who consider the relationship of democracy and justice. The intrinsic justness of democracy is challenged and the relationship between justice, democracy and the common good examined.
In response to criticisms made by Keith Dowding (hereafter KD) of `Capitalists Rule OK', this article argues (1) that there is a genuine structural conflict of interest between consumers and producers, voters and politicians, and capitalists and governments, and (2) that only by ad hoc and arbitrary limitations on the scope of the concept of power can it be denied that consumers collectively have power over producers and capitalists (collectively) have power over government. KD accepts that voters (collectively) have power (...) over governments. Ironically, however, this is by far the most tenuous and generally problematic of the three putative power relations. Furthermore, there is no plausible way of conceding that voters (collectively) have power over politicians without also having to accept the validity of a power relation in the other two cases. The implication is that the thesis that is supposed to justify the standard North American or western European politico-economic system, according to which consumers and voters have power but capitalists do not, is nothing more than ideology, in Marx's sense of a fantastical picture of the world designed by the beneficiaries of the status quo to protect their privileged positions against legitimate demands for revolutionary change. The article concludes by taking up KD's primary objection to `Capitalists Rule', which is its rejection of the proposal to equate power with resources. According to KD's official definition, `resources' are the means of raising and lowering others' utilities. I pointed out in `Capitalists Rule' that KD himself acknowledges the inadequacy of this definition, since he almost immediately goes on to say that people do not necessarily have the power that is attributed to them. Obviously, `power' in this new sense must be something different, and is, in fact, the ability to get people to do what you want them to do or to refrain from doing things you do not want them to do. This is precisely my own proposed definition in `Capitalists Rule'. The only remaining disagreement arises from KD's wish to turn everything that lies between power in his first sense and power in his second (and my) sense into a further `resource'. I argue that this is obfuscatory and, in any case, infeasible. Key Words: power democracy capitalism. (shrink)
Even if we do not observe those who own or manage capital doing anything, are there nevertheless good reasons for saying that they have power over government? My thesis is that, on any analysis of `power over others' that enables us to say that voters have power over those elected and that consumers have power over producers, we also have to say that those who own or control capital have power over government. Conversely, the reasons that can be given (and (...) have been given) for denying that owners of capital have power over governments would be equally good reasons for denying that voters have power over governments and that consumers have power over producers. Key Words: power capitalism democracy. (shrink)
Almost every country today contains adherents of different religions and different secular conceptions of the good life. Is there any alternative to a power struggle among them, leading most probably to either civil war or oppression? The argument of this book is that justice as impartiality offers a solution. -/- According to the theory of justice as impartiality, principles of justice are those principles that provide a reasonable basis for the unforced assent of those subject to them. The object of (...) this book is to set out the theory, explain its rationale, and respond to the variety of criticisms that have been made of it. -/- This is the second volume of A Treatise on Social Justice. The first, Theories of Justice, explored alternative theories and concluded by asserting the superiority of justice as impartiality. This conclusion is built on in Justoce as Impartiality, but it does not presuppose acquaintance with Theories of Justice. (shrink)
Almost every country today contains adherents of different religions and different secular conceptions of the good life. Is there any alternative to a power struggle among them, leading most probably to either civil war or repression? The argument of this book is that justice as impartiality offers a solution. According to the theory of justice as impartiality, principles of justice are those principles that provide a reasonable basis for the unforced assent of those subject to them. The (...) object of this book is to set the theory out, explain its rationale, and respond to a variety of criticism that have been made of it. As the second volume of his work-in-progress, A Treatise on Social Justice, this work lies at the heart of a thriving academic debate which the author has played a key role in shaping. (shrink)
Brian Barry (1980). Is Social Justice a Myth? In Lars O. Ericsson, Harald Ofstad & Giuliano Pontara (eds.), Justice, Social, and Global: Papers Presented at the Stockholm International Symposium on Justice, Held in September 1978. Akademilitteratur.
R. B. Braithwaite's story of the pianist and trumpeter with adjoining rooms is presented, and his solution to the problem of dividing playing time fairly between them is discussed, along with alternative solutions that have been put forward. These solutions are criticized for the shared assumption that the object of distribution is utility rather than opportunity. The author proposes a different approach and works out its implications for the problem of the pianist and the trumpeter in three variants. In conclusion, (...) the relevance of the analysis to wider issues of distribution is briefly considered. (shrink)
This reprint of a collection of essays on problems concerning future generations examines questions such as whether intrinsic value should be placed on the preservation of mankind, what are our obligations to posterity, and whether potential people have moral rights.