Equity, efficiency and the economist’s contribution

  • Johann K. Brunner
Part of the Studies in Contemporary Economics book series (CONTEMPORARY)


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.


Government Activity Concerned Individual Benefit Principle Social Choice Literature Modern Democratic Society 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johann K. Brunner
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of EconomicsUniversity of LinzLinz-AuhofAustria

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