This volume of seminal and recent articles by philosophers in the distributive justice debate covers a range of representative positions, including libertarian, egalitarian, desert and welfare theories. The introduction and articles are designed to allow students and professionals to see some of the most influential pieces that have shaped the field, as well as some key critics of these positions. The articles intersect in such a way as to develop an appreciation of the types of theories and the central issues (...) addressed by theories of distributive justice. (shrink)
Many have argued that individuals should receive income in proportion to their contribution to society. Others have believed that it would be fairer if people received income in proportion to the effort they expend in so contributing, since people have much greater control over their level of effort than their productivity. I argue that those who believe this are normally also committed, despite appearances, to increasing the social product — which undermines any sharp distinction between effort- and productivity-based distributive proposals. (...) However, effort-based proposals do emphasise more the importance of people having control over factors affecting their income. The second set of problems I consider is how to implement policies which hold true to this emphasis. I show that there are major problems with the accuracy of using any objective criteria to measure the level of effort a person is expending. Moreover, once any such criteria are employed the problem of ‘moral hazard’arises because people modify their behaviour in such a way as to maximise their income while minimising their effort. This violates the original motivation for using effort. Because of this and other empirical considerations, I argue that productivity may well be a better criterion on which to distribute income even if one is motivated by the same concerns which have prompted effort-based proposals. (shrink)
Essays on Philosophy, Politics, & Economics offers a critical examination of economic, philosophical, and political notions, with an eye towards working across all three, so that students and scholars from can expand their perspectives as ...
In this article I defend the claim that subsidies for university education should be substantially reduced. The normative justification for this conclusion derives from a theory of distributive justice called the Compensation Theory of Income Justice, which is most easily understood as a normative version of the positive economic theory of compensating differentials. Relying on the distinction between incentives and economic rents, and after considering two ‘received opinions’ about why large income differentials exist in modern societies, I note that substantial (...) portions of above-average incomes are likely to be artificial monopoly rents, rather than incentives or natural monopoly rents. Under the Compensation Theory of Income Justice the earning of artificial monopoly rents is not justified. Since subsidisation of university education fees increases lifetime artificial rents, the theory would recommend such subsidies be substantially reduced. I defend this conclusion against objections, the most notable of which is the view that university subsidies help to improve equality of opportunity to university education. I explain how it is possible to maintain the laudable aim of providing equality of opportunity while reducing the subsidisation and, as a consequence, the lifetime artificial rents. (shrink)