Why social justice is     not just       Prof. Dr. Hardy Bouillon          University of Trier,     SMC University, Vienna...
Many thanks … … for inviting me to Bratislava!
Preview Compatibility problem Social Justice as:     unjustified redistribution     mixing of spheres     complementa...
To start with Conceiving social justice as complement  to justice without prefix     Based on the assumption that a more...
Justice without adjective What does „justice without prefix (or  adjective)“ mean?     each to his own (suum cuique)   ...
Aristotelian justice Justice in a universal sense vs particular  justice     Justice in a universal sense means      vir...
Commutative and distributive    justice in Aristotle    Commutative (or rectificatory) justice to     preserve or restitu...
Merit based justice as social            justice? Distributive vs social justice      Worthiness based on merits vs base...
Justice and unjustified            redistribution Redistribution to change the market  results     Anthony Flew: Social ...
Market results: social just oder           unjust? Assumption: If market results are unjust  they ask for correction. Fr...
Social justice from a different          perspective? Calling for social justice without claiming  the market was sociall...
Social justice as       complementary justice John Rawls:     Under the veil of ignorance and following      the maximin...
With a little help of Pareto and               Popper Alfredo Pareto: If one or more superior  alternatives to A exist, t...
Interim conclusion One or more alternatives, superior to  market results, could possibly exist.     If at least one in f...
Maximin rule and difference            principle Rawls in short:    ‘Thus, in comparing different arrangements of the   ...
Criticising Rawls „Veil of ignorance“ is unrealistic. Saying that people could rationally prefer  the Rawlsian conceptio...
Social justice as limiting formal             justice Thesis:    Market actors use private goods as well as     common g...
Criticising the pool goods                  theory Anthony de Jasay:      Pool goods are not common goods, but       pos...
SJ to correct original           appropriation? Thesis: Though the chain of  accumulation might be just, how about  first...
First possession and the    finders keepers principle Gerard Radnitzky:   argumentum in favour of freedom:       For lo...
Conclusions The cardinal conceptions of social justice  are incompatible with formal justice.     This holds for the „co...
Thanks a lot!
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CEQLS Lecture: Hardy Bouillon: Why Social Justice is not Just

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Konzervatívny inštitút M. R. Štefánika v spolupráci s New Direction – The
Foundation for European Reform a ďalšími partnermi organizovali dňa 19.
novembra 2012 v Bratislave ďalšiu z cyklu prednášok CEQLS. Tentoraz bol
našim hosťom Hardy Bouillon, profesor filozofie na Universität Trier a
profesor filozofie a ekonómie na SMC University, Viedeň. Viac informácií
nájdete na www.konzervativizmus.sk.


Conservative Institute organized another of the CEQLS Lectures: Hardy
Bouillon, Professor for Philosophy at the University of Trier and
Professor of Philosophy and Economics at SMC University, Vienna, was our
guest on November 19, 2012 in Bratislava. More information is available at
www.institute.sk.

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CEQLS Lecture: Hardy Bouillon: Why Social Justice is not Just

  1. 1. Why social justice is not just Prof. Dr. Hardy Bouillon University of Trier, SMC University, Vienna, and New Direction Foundation, Brussels
  2. 2. Many thanks … … for inviting me to Bratislava!
  3. 3. Preview Compatibility problem Social Justice as:  unjustified redistribution  mixing of spheres  complementary justice  limiting formal justice Finders-Keepers-Principle  correcting original appropriation?
  4. 4. To start with Conceiving social justice as complement to justice without prefix  Based on the assumption that a more comprehensive notion of justice is necessary for achieving a more just world.
  5. 5. Justice without adjective What does „justice without prefix (or adjective)“ mean?  each to his own (suum cuique)  leaning towards Aristoteles
  6. 6. Aristotelian justice Justice in a universal sense vs particular justice  Justice in a universal sense means virtuous life – conformity to law.  particluar justice divided into commutative and distributive justice.
  7. 7. Commutative and distributive justice in Aristotle  Commutative (or rectificatory) justice to preserve or restitute the legitimate status  Distributive justice to order collective gains and honour … according to merit alone  Commutative justice and distributive justice are complementary.
  8. 8. Merit based justice as social justice? Distributive vs social justice  Worthiness based on merits vs based on neediness, etc.  Distributive justice as complement to commutative justice  Can social justice also be a complement to commutative justice?
  9. 9. Justice and unjustified redistribution Redistribution to change the market results  Anthony Flew: Social justice contradicts commutative justice because it implies:  Taking away from A, what he does not unjustly possess, in order to give it to B, who was not unjustly deprived of it.
  10. 10. Market results: social just oder unjust? Assumption: If market results are unjust they ask for correction. Friedrich A. von Hayek: mixing of spheres  Only individuals act, justly or unjustly  … if and only if they intend and sufficiently cause the result.  The market, in turn, is not an actor, and its results originate unintentionally from endless market interactions by individuals.  Hence, the results of the market are neither socially just nor socially unjust.
  11. 11. Social justice from a different perspective? Calling for social justice without claiming the market was socially unjust  SJ as complementary justice  Assumption: Under certain conditions, market actors would prefer a different distribution of market results.  SJ as limiting formal justice  Assumption:Under certain conditions commutative justice leads to injustice.
  12. 12. Social justice as complementary justice John Rawls:  Under the veil of ignorance and following the maximin rule, people would prefer redistribution that matches the difference principle.  Explaining veil of ignorance, maximin rule, and difference principle
  13. 13. With a little help of Pareto and Popper Alfredo Pareto: If one or more superior alternatives to A exist, then it is not rational to insist on A.  Of course, this does not say which of the superior alternatives should be chosen. Karl Popper: For logical reasons, it is impossible to exclude the possibility that a superior alternative to A could exist.
  14. 14. Interim conclusion One or more alternatives, superior to market results, could possibly exist.  If at least one in fact exists, it is not rational to insist on market results.  If more than one superior alternative exists, then redistribution should be in favour of the worst-off, following the maximin rule and the difference principle.
  15. 15. Maximin rule and difference principle Rawls in short:  ‘Thus, in comparing different arrangements of the social system, we can say that one is better than another if in one arrangement all expectations are at least as high, and some higher, than in the other. The principle gives grounds for reform, for if there is an arrangement which is optimal in comparison with the existing state of things, then, other things equal, it is a better situation all around and should be adopted.’*  *(John Rawls, ‘Distributive Justice’, Philosophy, Politics and Society. Third Series, ed. by Peter Laslett and Walter G. Runciman, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1967, p. 64.)
  16. 16. Criticising Rawls „Veil of ignorance“ is unrealistic. Saying that people could rationally prefer the Rawlsian conception is not enough. Fictitious contracts are not contracts at all  … and no subclass of contracts either. Without real contractual approval by all individuals, Rawlsian redistribution implies an unjustified prioritization of competing utility preferences.
  17. 17. Social justice as limiting formal justice Thesis:  Market actors use private goods as well as common goods. Using the latter calls for tolls. Joel Feinberg, James Griffin et al.  Market actors consume „pool goods“, owned by the common.  He who uses the pool more often than others should pay more than others (proportionally to his use rate).  Socially just redistribution finally serves commutative justice.
  18. 18. Criticising the pool goods theory Anthony de Jasay:  Pool goods are not common goods, but positive externalities.  Hence, they are free goods. On top of that:  Pool goods are not only consumed. They also become produced.  The latter implies that redistribution from indolent to deligent market actors would more than compensate the reverse redistribution.
  19. 19. SJ to correct original appropriation? Thesis: Though the chain of accumulation might be just, how about first possession? Let us look at:  the argumentum pro libertate  asymmetric claims
  20. 20. First possession and the finders keepers principle Gerard Radnitzky:  argumentum in favour of freedom:  For logical reasons, it is impossible to proof that no justified objection to original appropriation taken in freedom exists.  Ought implies can. Anthony de Jasay:  First possession does not imply any asymmetric claim.  Demanding suspension of originally appropriated goods implies an asymmetric claim, namely a one-sidely worsening of the original owner.
  21. 21. Conclusions The cardinal conceptions of social justice are incompatible with formal justice.  This holds for the „complementary“ as well as for the „limiting formal justice“ version of social justice. Market results based on original appropriation and (commutatively) just accumulation of wealth are compatible with prefix-free or formal justice.
  22. 22. Thanks a lot!

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