Fairness and Justice HW Chapter 5
From last class…. The financial/business system is corrupt. This is ironic because the financial/business system depends upon trust in order to function well, and by all appearances it IS functioning well. It’s “functioning” is, however, smoke and mirrors: credit default swaps and other forms of derivatives suggest that the financial business system is really UNSUSTAINABLE. (600 Trillion in derivatives but only 6 Trillion in Cash.) Does this open up the need/desire for “alternative economies?”
…to this class What is the basis for disproportionate distribution of goods and services? Should goods and services be more equally distributed?
Glaucon on Justice: Gyges’ Ring If given the power to act unjustly without punishment, all men will act unjustly. So, justice is motivated only by lack of such power. Thus, all men will act unjustly up to the point of their power to avoid being punished.
Glaucon-Might Makes Right Whatever is the greatest benefit is the greatest good. Power allows for unjust actions to go unpunished. The greatest benefit is for one to act unjustly without punishment. So, power is the greatest good.
Agentive Power We all act to the ends of the power that we possess.
Context: Evolution and Selfishness Progressive Complexity, Ancient Earth, Natural Selection--------------------------- Selfishness Descent with Random Modification, Ancestors in Common IF EVOLUTION IS TRUE, THEN THE PRODUCTS OF EVOLUTION MUST BE SELFISH.
Adam Smith: Human Exchange/Differences Selfishness in humanity is an accepted reality, but we can avoid the problem of Gyges’ ring if we can show how self-interest motivates altruistic acts of redistribution of goods and services. This creates a Just (though not fair) financial/business system. • Individuals divide labor according to their way of being. • Trading of good and services is protected and free.
Adam Smith: Dog analogy 1) Each dog breed has unique character traits and physical abilities. 2) Hence, each dog breed should serve the role of their uniqueness and be compensated for things lacking because of their uniqueness by a protected trade system. 3) Human uniqueness is like that of dogs. 4) So, a trade system which redistributes good and services should be protected.
Adam Smith: Problem! • If the free trade of goods and services is protected, then those with more desirable traits receive more goods and services. • Desirability of traits is based on luck and chance. • So, distribution of goods and services is based on luck and chance. From “A Latin Viewpoint”
Ciulla: Exploitation of Need • Protection of free trade entails that no one be unduly coerced into a trade. • Due to extreme poverty caused by free trade, people are coerced into trade. (E.g. slave trade) • So, free trade is not free. Alternative: Fair Trade where trading practices are legislated to support the poor and tax the wealthy. E.g. “Living Wage”