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Business Ethics Chapter 3
Terms in this set (37)
Plato and justice
Said that justice is the sum of virtue with regard to our relations with others.
Philosophers today and justice
Distinguish justice from the whole of morality. The complaint that something is unjust is more specific than it is bad or immoral.
Justice or injustice focuses on
Fairness, equality, desert, and rights
Is often used to mean fairness. Justice frequently concerns the fair treatment of members of groups of people or else looks backward to the fair compensation of prior injuries.
Justice is frequently held to require that our treatment of people reflect their fundamental moral equality.
Justice requires that people get what they deserve.
One is treated unjustly when ones moral rights are violated. JOHN STUART MILL made this defining characteristic of injustice. In his view, what distinguishes injustice from other types of wrongful behavior is that it involves a violation of the rights of some identifiable person.
The proper distribution of social benefits and burdens (in particular, economic benefits and burdens)
Principles of Just Distribution
Equality, need, effort
Economic distribution might be based on pure equality, need, effort, social contribution, or merit. Each of these principles is plausible in some circumstances but not in others. In some situations, the principles pull us in different directions. Dissatisfied with a pluralistic approach, moral philosophers have sometimes sought to develop more general theories or justice.
Sphere of Justice
He says different goods ought to be distributed for different reasons in accordance with different procedures, by different agents; and that all these differences derive from different understandings of the social goods themselves - the inevitable product of historical and cultural particularism.
There are different spheres. For example: Money is inappropriate in the sphere of ecclesiastical office.
There are standards for every social good and every distributive sphere in every particular society.
Three theories of economic distribution
Utilitarian, Libertarian, and Egalitarian (Rawlsian)
The Utilitarian View
For utilitarians, happiness is the overarching value. Whether one assesses the rightness or wrongness of actions in terms of how much happiness they product, as an act utilitarian does, or uses happiness as the standard for deciding what moral principles a society should accept, as a rule utilitarian does, happiness is the only thing that is good in and of itself.
John Stuart Mill's idea is that injustice involves the violation of the rights of some identifiable person. That is what distinguishes it from other types of immoral behavior. According to Mill, to have a right to something is to have a valid claim on society to protect me in the possession of that thing, either by force of law or through education and opinion. I have a valid claim in the first place because society's protection of my possession of that this is warranted on utilitarian grounds. Concept of general utility.
Justice for Mill was ultimately a matter of promoting social well-being.
For utilitarians, justice is not an independent moral standard distinct from their general principle. The maximization of happiness ultimately determines what is just and unjust.
Mill said that social utility can decide the preference of what an individual should receive and what is just that the community should give.
Utilitarianism and Economic Distribution
Deciding what sort of economic arrangements would best promote human happiness requires that utilitarian to consider many things, including 1) The type of economic ownership (public, private, or mixed), 2) The way of organizing production and distribution in general (laissez faire, regulation, fully centralized planning), 3) The type of authority arrangements within the units of production (worker control v. manager prerogative), 4) The range and character of material incentives, 5) the nature and extent of social scrutiny.
In the early 19th century, utilitarians tended to favor free trade the laissez fair view of ADAM SMITH. Today they favor the idea of increased worker participation and a more equitable distribution of income.
Mill argued for the desirability of breaking down the sharp and hostile division between the producers, or workers, one the one hand, and the capitalists, or owners, on the other.
Greater Equality of Income
Utilitarians are likely to by sympathetic to the argument that steps should be taken to reduce the great disparities in income that characterize our society today. This is because inequalities seem to be correlated with various social ills. There is also evidence that equality promotes economic growth.
Another reason utilitarians tend to favor greater inequality of income goes back to what economics would call the declining marginal utility of money which says that successive additions to one's income produce less happiness or welfare than did earlier additions. RICHARD BRANDT
He said that the things a person does not buy are omitted because other things are wanted more. If we double a persons money he will spend extra money on things he wants less and which will give less enjoyment than will the original income.
Egalitarian allocation of income
An allocation that increases the income of those who now earn less would boost total happiness.
The Libertarian Approach
Libertarianism identifies justice with an idea of liberty. For them, liberty is the prime value, and justice consists in permitting each person to live as he or she wishes free from the interference of others.
This does not mean doing whatever you want all willy-nilly.
Libertarians refuse to restrict individual liberty even if doing so would increase overall happiness. They reject utilitarians concern for total social well-being.
Libertarians only allow minimal or "night-watchman" state.
Nozick's Theory of Justice
ROBERT NOZICK is a LIBERTARIAN.
Nozick begins from the premise that people have certain basic moral rights which he called Lockean Rights.
allude to the political philosophy of John Locke. Nozick wishes to underscore that these rights are both negative and natural.
They are negative because they require only that people forbear from acting in certain ways- in particular that we refrain from interfering with others.
Natural in the sense that we possess them independently of any social or political institution.
Nozick maintains that people are entitled to their holdings (good, money, property) so long as they have acquired them fairly.
If you have secured a vast fortune without injuring other people, defrauding them, or others violating their rights, then you are morally permitted to do with your fortune whatever you wish.
The first principle of Nozick's entitlement theory concerns the original acquisition of holdings - that is, the appropriation of unheld goods or the creation of new goods. For example, if you discover and remove minerals from the wilderness or make something out of materials you already legitimately possess, then you have justly acquired this new holding.
Locke said that property is a moral right because individuals are morally entitled to the products of their labor. The investment of self through labor is the moral basis of ownership (farming).
Nozick's second principle concerns the transfer of already-owned goods from one person to another: how people may legitimately transfer holdings to others and how they may legitimately get holdings from others.
Nozick's third and final principle states that one can justly acquire a holding only in accord with the two principles previous discussed.
To Nozick, all that matters is how people came to have what they have, not the pattern or results of the distribution.
Wilt Chamberlain example.
State of nature
LOCKES PHRASE - In the early state of nature, prior to the formation of government, property rights were limited not only by the requirement that one not waste what what claimed but also by the restriction that "enough and as good" be left for others, that is one's appropriation not make others worse off. With the introduction of money, Locke thought that both these restrictions were overcome.
You can pile up money beyond your needs without its spoiling; and if your property is used productively and the proceeds are offered for sale, then you appropriation (taking for ones own use) leaves others no worse off than before.
The libertarian view of liberty
Libertarianism clearly involves a commitment to leaving market relations, buying, selling, and other exchanges, totally unrestricted.
Libertarians believe in laissez faire because they agree with Adam Smith that unregulated capitalist behavior best promotes ever ones interest.
Libertarians say that their commitment to an unrestricted free market reflects the priority of liberty over other values.
Markets and Free Exchange
Libertarians defend market relations, as necessary to respect human liberty. However in doing so, libertarians do not assert that people deserve what they receive from others through gift or exchange only that they are entitled to whatever the receive.
They believe that the market rewards people for skill diligence and successful performance but luck is also part of a factor.
Nozick dismisses people who bark about inheritance as opposed to a lousy upbringing. Nozick contends that deserving has no bearing on the justice of inherited wealth; people are simply entitled to it as long as it is not ill-gotten.
Libertarians want a totally unregulated market but this can have consequences according to AMARTYA SEN
He says that in certain circumstances changing market entitlements have led to mass starvation. Famine occurs not because of a lack of supply but because large numbers of people lack the financial wherewithal to obtain the necessary food.
For example, in Ireland during the famine food was actually being exported to England because those in England could pay more for it.
Libertarians however, find it unjust to force people to aid the starving or to tax the affluent in order to set up programs to relieve hunger.
What you have legitimately acquired is yours to do with as you will.
Critics of Nozicks property rights
1. Property is not restricted to material objects like cars or houses. In developed societies it may include abstract goods, interests, and claims.
2. Property ownership involves a bundle of different rights governing one's ability to possess, use, manage, dispose of, or restrict others' access to something in certain specified ways.
For these reasons, most non libertarian social and political theorists view property rights as a function of the particular institutions of a given society.
Rawl's Theory of Justice
JOHN RAWLS presents his theory as a modern alternative to utilitarianism, one that he hopes will be compatible with the belief that justice must be associated with fairness and the moral equity of persons.
Rawls firmly wishes to avoid reducing justice to a matter of society utility. At the same time his approach fundamentally differs from Nozicks.
Rawls conceives of society as a cooperative venture among its members and he elaborates a conception of justice that is thoroughly social. He does not base his theory, as Nozick does, on the postulate that individuals possess certain natural rights prior to any political or social organization.
Two features of Rawls' theory are particularly important: his hypothetical contract approach and the principles of justice that he derives with it.
Rawls strategy is to ask what we would choose as the fundamental principles to govern society if, hypothetically we were to meet for this purpose in what he calls the original position.
Principals of the Original Principle
People in the original position would agree on two principles:
1. The guarantee of certain familiar and fundamental liberties to each person.
2. Social and economic inequalities are justified only if those inequalities benefit the least advantaged members of society.
The Original Position
Various principles of economic justice have been proposed but can they be justified? Thinking of possible principles of economic distribution is not very difficult, but proving the soundness of such a principle, or at least showing it to be more plausible that its rivals is a challenging task. After all, people seem to differ in their intuitions about what is just and unjust, and their sentiments are bound to be influenced by their social position.
Never have the members of a society decided from scratch on the basic principles of justice that should govern them. But Rawls proposed a thought experiment. He asked what principles would choose in this sort of original position? If we can identify these principles, Rawls contends, then we will have identified the principles of justice precisely because they are the principles we all would have agreed to.
Two Components of The Original Position
1. The nature of choice - we can't just select principles that strike us because we are biased. Rawls suggest that we imagine people in the original position choosing solely on the basis of self interest: Each individual chooses the set of principles for governing society that will be best for himself or herself (and loved ones)
2. The veil of ignorance - people in the original position know nothing about themselves personally or about what their individual situation will be once the veil is lifted.
SUMMARY: John Rawls theory of justice lies within social contract tradition. He asks us to imagine people meeting in the original position to choose the basic principles that are to given their society. Although in this original position people choose on the basis of self interest, we are to imagine that they are behind a veil of ignorance, with no personal information about themselves. Rawls contends that any principles agreed to under these circumstances have a strong claim to be considered the principles of justice.
Two Principles from Rawls
1. Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive total system of equal basic liberties compatible with a system of liberty for all.
2. Social and economic inequalities are to satisfy two conditions: must be open to all and benefit the least advantaged members of society.
These are the principles of justice because under the original position they would be agreed to in an initial situation of equality and fairness.
According to Rawls, the first principle takes priority over the second, at least in semi developed societies with moderate affluence.
Rights to Rawls mean freedom of thought, conscience, and religious worship. Explicitly absent are the rights to property and freedom of contract.
Is the distinctive core of Rawls theory. It states that inequalities are justified only if they work to benefit the least advantaged members of society.
According to this rule you should select the alternative under which the worst that could happen to you is better than the worst that could happen to you under any other alternative. You should try to maximize the minimum you should receive.
In figure a, things are divided equally, in figure b unequally. Suppose then that because a society permits in equalities as an incentive to get people to work harder or to do work that they otherwise would not have wanted to do, the overall amount to be distributed among society's members increases - that is the economic pie grow in rise from A to be and then the people with the thinnest slice of B are better off than they would have been with an equal slice of A.
People in the original distribution do not care about equality of distribution as a value in and of itself; they want the social and economic arrangement that will provide them with the highest minimum.
If permitting someone people to be better off than the average resulted in the least-well-off segment of society better off than it would have under a strictly equal division; that is what people in the original position will want.
Rawls's principles permit economic inequalities only if they do in fact benefit the least advantaged.
He say says that a liberal form of capitalism, with sufficient welfare provisions, would satisfy his principles, but he does not rule out the possibility that a democratic socialist system could do so as well.
Fairness and Basic Structure
Rawls intends his theory as a fundamental alternative to utilitarianism, which he rejects on the grounds that maximizing the total well-being of society could permit an unfair distribution of burdens and benefits.
Rawls is equally unsympathetic to the libertarian approach adopted by Nozick. Contrary to the entitlement theory, he argues that the primary subject of justice is not, in the first instance, transactions between individuals but rather "the basic structure, the fundamental social institutions and their arrangement into one scheme." He things that the primary focus of justice should be the basic social structure not just individual transactions.
He contends that society is a cooperative project for mutual benefit and that justice requires us to reduce the social and economic consequences of arbitrary natural differences amount people.
Benefits and Burdens
Rawls believes that justices tries to minimize the social consequences of purely arbitrary, natural differences. People do not deserve the attitudes they were born with or that reflect their environment and upbringing.
Primary Social Goods
wealth, rights, liberties, opportunities, status, and self-respect.
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