Distributive Justice

Dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara (1974)

There is also a section on Marx's hints concerning what a just distribution of property would be, in which a method is suggested for combining consumer choice in selecting what to produce with the use of a labor theory in planning production. ;The analysis of the labor theory is embedded in the context of the justifications commonly given for existing capitalist distributions of property. Part of this context is a critique of the argument from freedom, i.e. of positions which justify entitlements by citing free agreements and freely given gifts. Part of the context is a critique of the anti-ideology argument, i.e. of positions which justify institutional arrangements on the ground that they function to encourage investment and production. ;This dissertation uses Aristotle's conception of distributive justice as a framework for analyzing Karl Marx's labor theory of value. The appeal to traditional principles of justice is found to be implicit in Marx's scientific arguments. Marxist texts, mainly Capital, are found to contain five kinds of arguments in favor of the labor theory of value. That the only attribute all commodities have in common is that they are products of labor. That labor determines price. That labor determines natural prices. That from a social point of view the value of a commodity ought to be considered equal to the portion of society's effort than went into it. That the concept of labor-value makes it possible to construct a theory which explains a wide range of economic phenomena
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