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Economic Justice: Confronting Dilemmas

Robin Hahnel

Journal of Economic Issues, 2020, vol. 54, issue 1, 19-37

Abstract: This article uses a simple economic model to study important issues in debates about distributive justice. What role do non-labor productive assets play? What role does private ownership play? What role does scarcity play? What role do credit and labor markets play? The model is used to address these questions, and in the process explain why even if those who acquire scarce productive assets do so fairly, and in a manner that deserves compensation, there is reason to believe (1) that when people own productive assets privately outcomes will become unfair, and (2) credit and labor markets will aggravate inequities. The article concludes that distributive justice requires compensation commensurate with the economic sacrifices people make and acknowledges important challenges that must be overcome to achieve this.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1080/00213624.2020.1720561

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