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John Rawls on Distributive Justice - Dictionary of Arguments

I 274
Distributive Justice/Rawls: thesis: only by shaping markets can the problem of fair distribution be solved as a case of pure procedural justice. In this way, we also maintain efficiency and the important freedom of individual career choice.
I 275
Institutions: We need a suitable social system to ensure distributive justice, no matter how historical coincidences turn out. The basic institutions required for this purpose include a constitution guaranteeing equal civil rights, freedom of thought and consciousness, political freedom, a fair electoral system and fair legislation, fair equal opportunities and free choice of profession.
The government must also ensure support for the socially disadvantaged and in the event of illness. The institutions that are supposed to guarantee this can be divided into four branches(1).
I 276
1. Assignment: the pricing system must be kept competitive. Problem: Efficiency. The allocation system is concerned with taxes and subsidies in order to be able to correct deviations from the market.
2. Stabilization: this branch is concerned with full employment in the sense that everyone can take up the profession he/she wants and that economic development is effective. The first two branches together ensure the efficiency of the market economy.
3. Transfer: this is about social security (social minimum). Here needs have to be considered and classified. Problem: A competitive system of market prices does not provide any orientation here. This leads to a division of labour between parts of the social system.
I 277
4. distribution: The institutions that enable distributive justice are tax legislation and property law.
1. An equal distribution of property appears to be a necessary condition for maintaining equal freedoms.
I 278
Inequality: the inequality of inherited goods is not inherently worse than that of intelligence. The point is that all inequalities are dealt with by the difference principle, so that they ultimately benefit the weakest. (See Difference Principle/Rawls).
2. Tax legislation that provides the state with revenue to guarantee public goods.
I 279
The details of the design are a matter of political theory and not of the theory of justice.

(1) See R. A. Musgrave, The Theory of Public Finance, New York, 1959, ch. I.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
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Rawl I
J. Rawls
A Theory of Justice: Original Edition Oxford 2005

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