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Distributive Justice, Patterned Resource Distribution and Entitlement

  • Date Submitted: 06/26/2011 04:51 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 38.6 
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Political philosophy is centrally concerned with what justified role the Government can undertake in society. This role includes determining what fundamental principle should take precedence when determining the distribution of goods and services that result from economic activity. Robert Nozick is a proponent of having no regulation in the free market, essentially letting free trade determine the distribution of resources. His justification is that any other system will violate each individual’s freedom to act in any way they are inclined. Nozick’s position, however, may oversimplify many of the complex issues that must be considered in our moral and political reasoning. In this essay I will argue that perhaps equality needs to collaborate with freedom. In line with Thomas Nagel’s argument, I believe that equality is central to the human condition, is a basic human right and that Government policies should aim to enshrine our liberty and emphasise equality within society.

Nozick’s core economic position is located in his theory of entitlement. This theory states that “a distribution is just if everyone is entitled to the holdings they posses under that distribution” (Nozick 151). So essentially this theory supposes that individuals are justified in being partial to themselves(rather than weighting their considerations as morally equivalent to those of other people). Nozick explicates his preference for partiality through his inclination to Kant’s theory of humanity (Feser 2005). This theory states that we should “… treat humanity… always as an end and never a means” (Ibid.). In line with Kant, Nozick believed that human beings have an inherent inviolable dignity and self-ownership. Under this belief, it would be contrary to our humanity to violate these intrinsic qualities. So, Nozick’s conclusion is that our human right to freedom supremely outweighs other distribution methods in a moral context. Thus any Governmental policy enforcing any specific actions on...


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