Justice in Human Capital

In Julian Jonker & Grant Rozeboom (eds.), Working as Equals. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
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Human capital is that body of skills, knowledge, or dispositions that enhances the value of individuals’ contributions to economic production. Because human capital is both a byproduct of, and an important ingredient in, cooperative productive activities, it is subject to demands of justice. Here I consider what comparative justice in human capital benefits and burdens amounts to, with a special concern for the place of equality in allocating such burdens and benefits. Identifying these demands is complicated by the fact that human capital is not discretely produced or exploited, making it difficult to envision human capital justice in historical terms. I defend a non-historical alternative that (I contend) both distributive and relational egalitarians can embrace, namely that that an allocation of human capital burdens and benefits is just only if under that distribution, no individual prefers another’s ledger of benefits and burdens to her own.



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Michael Cholbi
University of Edinburgh

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