Equity, efficiency and the economist’s contribution
It is a traditional postulate that government activities must be guided by justice. In history, this was commonly seen as an exhortation to the sovereign that he must not arbitrarily wield his absolute power, but act within the limits of some general principle of justice. However, this principle is also important in modern democratic societies, because the fact that the laws are enacted by the people — in a direct or, more frequently, in an indirect way — does not, per se, justify them. What is necessary, besides a correct formal basis, is a reasonable material legitimacy of a law to justify its authoritative claim. And the most important criterion of legitimacy is certainly the attribute of justice.
KeywordsGovernment Activity Concerned Individual Benefit Principle Social Choice Literature Modern Democratic Society
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