Philosophy Distribution of Wealth in America Discussion
Here are several possible discussion topics. You don’t have to address more than one of them, though you can if you want to. One topic is enough.
PRINCIPLES OF JUSTICE
Rawls asks us to think about which principles of distributive justice we would choose under the veil of ignorance. He think we would choose his two principles of justice, but you don’t have to agree with him. Speaking for yourself, which ones would you choose? Here are some possibilities:
Egalitarianism (equal distribution)
“From each according to his/her ability, to each according to his/her need” (Karl Marx)
Rawl’s two principles of justice (especially the difference principle)
EXCEPTIONS TO LIBERTY
Nozick makes some exceptions to liberty: he says you should not be free to steal, defraud people, commit crimes, and so on. Why does Nozick make these exceptions to liberty? Doesn’t that seem to make us less free?
Here’s a question that will help you think about this: Would we be more free (more liberty) or less free (less liberty) in a world where we are free to commit fraud, harm others, and so on?
UTILITARIANISM AND THE CURRENT DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH IN AMERICA
What does utilitarianism say about the current distribution of wealth and income in America? In other words, would a utilitarian approve of the current distribution? Why/why not?
LIBERTARIANISM AND THE CURRENT DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH IN AMERICA
According to libertarianism, is the current distribution of wealth in America just or unjust? Why/why not? (Be careful—the answer is not as obvious as you might think.)
RAWLSIAN EGALITARIANISM AND THE CURRENT DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH IN AMERICA
What would Rawls say about the current distribution of wealth in America? Is it consistent with his principles of justice? Why/why not?