Capitalism or Distributional Justice?

Sometimes when one does not have a clear opinion on something, it is helpful to ask others. Today I am in this situation, and therefore have decided to ask for help. What do you think?

The full question is the following (it is too long for Polldaddy): Isn’t it a contradiction to expect people both to act in a self-interested way in their market behaviour (since this is believed to lead to greatest possible efficiency) and to embrace policies directed toward a redistribution of thus acquired wealth (out of an ethical recognition of the inability of the market to provide societally “just” outcomes)?

You are welcome to add further explanations of your answer via comments.

Justice in a Plural World

There is much talk about justice in the media. It has become a very popular word. And rightly so. In today’s world justice is very important – be it in the area of politics, economy or, increasingly, ecology. But what exactly is justice? Whom do we owe justice? And who are the “we”? What is the source of justice? What are its consequences? Is there something like the often invoked global justice? And if yes, what is its foundation (or: do we need a global government?)? What do democracy or human rights mean for justice? All these questions have been answered in many different ways by many different thinkers throughout history. One of those thinkers – a contemporary one – is Amartya Sen. His is the theory of justice I would like to present here (as it is discussed in his The Idea of Justice). Continue reading