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Distributive Justice and Inheritance

  • D. W. Haslett
Conference paper
Part of the Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosophy book series (SEEP)

Abstract

It is often argued that a just distribution of wealth is one in which each person’s wealth is proportional to his or her productivity. Let us call this the ‘productivity’ ideal of distributive justice. Some version of it has been held by writers with views otherwise as different as those of the arch-conservative Milton Friedman and the socialist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.1 In this essay I shall attempt to defend a version of the productivity ideal of distributive justice, and examine its practical implications, especially with regard to inheritance. It is usually thought that the productivity ideal of distributive justice justifies rather conservative policies, policies which, for the sake of assuring that wealth is indeed proportional to productivity, reject governmental aid to the poor or any other interference with the market. Thus support for this ideal usually comes from conservatives.2 I shall try to show, however, that conservative support for the productivity ideal of distributive justice is misplaced; that this ideal, as I shall interpret it at least, does not justify conservative policies.

Keywords

Distributive Justice Chief Executive Officer Productivity Ideal Political Ideal Unnecessary Limitation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. W. Haslett

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