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The opening chapter begins with the question why both in the academic literature and in real-world politics self-control has garnered so much less attention than intelligence. Due to the neglect of this crucial personality trait, the modern world has developed into an “iron cage” that poorly befits the realities of the human mind. The goal of this book is to correct this state of affairs. It details what psychology has learned about self-control and explores the implications of this knowledge for some key ideas underlying the current social order (i.e. moral responsibility and distributive justice) and for the ever-increasing emphasis on personal responsibility in politics. Having thus set the stage, this opening chapter gives an extensive overview of the main concepts, themes, and arguments of the book, including its conclusions and recommendations.
This chapter focuses on the currently popular idea that the distribution of scarce goods such as income and social benefits should reflect differences in “deservingness” and track “responsible behavior.” In philosophy, this idea lies at the heart of what is sometimes referred to as “luck egalitarianism,” while in politics the idea translates into an ever-increasing emphasis on “personal responsibility.” I argue that the psychological findings on self-control raise serious problems for this approach to distributive justice. In fact, the problems are so intractable that they leave us little choice but to entirely abandon this approach in favor of an alternative – a combination of sufficientarianism and relational equality – that better fits the psychological findings previously discussed. Put differently, these findings more or less force us to revise our views on “who should get what.” Especially for the United Kingdom and the United States, this would imply a significant change in both ideology and practical policies.
Carl Knight argues that lexical sufficientarianism, which holds that sufficientarian concerns should have lexical priority over other distributive goals, is ‘excessive’ in many distinct ways and that sufficientarians should either defend weighted sufficientarianism or become prioritarians. In this article, I distinguish three types of weighted sufficientarianism and propose a weighted sufficientarian view that meets the excessiveness objection and is preferable to both Knight’s proposal and prioritarianism. More specifically, I defend a multi-threshold view which gives weighted priority to benefits directly above and below its thresholds, but gives benefits below the lowest threshold lexical priority over benefits above the highest threshold.
With an accessible style and clear structure, Miranda Stewart explains how taxation finances government in the twenty-first century, exploring tax law in its historical, economic, and social context. Today, democratic tax states face an array of challenges, including the changing nature of work, the digitalisation and globalisation of the economy, and rebuilding after the fiscal crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stewart demonstrates the centrality of taxation for government budgets and explains key tax principles of equity, efficiency and administration. Presenting examples from a wide range of jurisdictions and international developments, Stewart shows how tax policy and law operate in our everyday lives, ranging from family and working life to taxing multinational enterprises in the global digital economy. Employing an interdisciplinary approach to the history and future of taxation law and policy, this is a valuable resource for legal scholars, practitioners and policy makers.
Good self-control is a crucial factor in the distribution of life outcomes, ranging from success at school and work, to good mental and physical health, and to satisfying romantic relationships. While in the last decades psychologists have learned much about this all-important trait, both social theory and politics have not caught up. Many academics and policymakers still seem to believe that everybody has unlimited capacity for self-control and that maintaining discipline is purely a matter of volition. This book shows that such beliefs are fundamentally mistaken. It presents the state-of-the-art in research on self-control, explains why this trait has been largely overlooked, and sets out the profound implications of this psychological research for moral responsibility, distributive justice and public policy. It shows that the growing emphasis in politics on 'personal responsibility' is deeply problematic, and outlines alternatives more in accord with human psychology.
The second phase in tort law develop relates to its reception of the society of organisations, which represents an evolution in the law's knowledge base by which large public and private organisations become central to knowledge generation and management. This is accompanied by the rise of expertise and insurance, and a break between expert knowledge and distributed experience as the knowledge base of society. This is patterned onto the law by the rise in 'vertical vicarious liability' or organisational liability, whatsoever its doctrinal nomenclature at the turn of the twentieth century. Calculable risk replaces fault as a key legal concept in the attribution of acts and omissions, and tort law is increasingly conceptualised as concerned with risk management against a background of the providential state. However, the model of organisational liability that develops remains a model of responsibility and should be characterised as a form of weak corrective justice or organisational moral responsibility. These changes have a profound impact on the law, which is documented by reference public and private liability in French, UK and German law, but reach their limits with the rise of network governance.
Katharina Pistor’s powerful critique of the key role that private law plays in creating private wealth, producing inequalities, and undermining democracy, raises the urgent question of what could be done to set things right or, at least, could be a step in the right direction. This article argues that a progressive European code of private law could be a meaningful part of the solution. A progressive private law code would be a code aimed at making progress towards a more just society, where there is less inequality and where we have more democratic control over our future. The progressive EPL-code would be completely different, in crucial respects, from the civil codes of the member states. It would be European (not national), be mandatory (not optional), have ‘constitutional’ ie primary EU law status (not merely secondary), consist of fundamental principles (not detailed rules), prioritise justice (not economic growth), and be radically democratic (not technocratic).
Chapter 11 offers a perspective from South Africa. In South Africa the pursuit of distributive justice is eminently permissible, if not compelled, by South African competition law and its unique responsiveness to the issues of distributional equity and fairness. For example, in merger regulation and exemption applications, the Competition Act permits consideration of equity issues such as empowerment, employment and concern for small- and medium-sized enterprises (‘SMEs’). The authors explore how the Pioneer/Pannar case provides an example of the effort made to take public interest factors and innovation competition into account in merger enforcement.
When is life-sustaining treatment not in the best interests of a minimally conscious child? This is an extremely difficult question that incites seemingly intractable debate. And yet, it is the question courts in England and Wales have set out to answer in disputes about appropriate medical treatment for children.
Social rights have yet to be accorded their proper place either in the history of the international human rights regime or in current practice. The concept of ‘generations’ of rights is as problematic as it is unhelpful in this regard. In the future, more historical work needs to be done on the relationships among conceptions of social rights, poverty alleviation and distributive justice, as well as on the relevance of national-level precedents and on the role of religion. The implications of extreme inequalities should also be a crucial element of future work, but the debate needs to be based on a deeper, more accurate and more integrated understanding of past approaches, as well as on clear definitions of the key terms and reference points. And more attention needs to be given to the crucial role played by a diverse array of civil society actors in this field. This final chapter lays out a research agenda that bridges the past, present and future of social rights.
In the face of limited resources during the COVID-19 pandemic response, public health experts and ethicists have sought to apply guiding principles in determining how those resources, including vaccines, should be allocated.
A famous legal maxim holds that “justice should not only be done but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.” On one understanding of the concept, publicity demands that this maxim also apply to questions of social, or distributive, justice. Not only must a just distribution be achieved, but persons must see that a just distribution has been achieved. John Rawls is a defender of this requirement, along with democratic theorist Thomas Christiano. There are compelling arguments in defense of this understanding of publicity. The problem is that there are many different ways of understanding what it means to see distributive justice done, and they all come with significant drawbacks. Perhaps these philosophers are correct that distributive justice must be seen to be done, but letting it be seen will require that we give up other things of value. This chapter highlights these difficult choices.
Machine learning algorithms are increasingly used to shape high-stake allocations, sparking research efforts to orient algorithm design towards ideals of justice and fairness. In this research on algorithmic fairness, normative theorizing has primarily focused on identification of “ideally fair” target states. In this paper, we argue that this preoccupation with target states in abstraction from the situated dynamics of deployment is misguided. We propose a framework that takes dynamic trajectories as direct objects of moral appraisal, highlighting three respects in which such trajectories can be subject to evaluation in relation to their (i) temporal dynamics, (ii) robustness, and (iii) representation.
This chapter explores distributive justice and beneficence. Justice involves giving individuals what they are due. Distributive justice governs the distribution of valuable resources and of burdens, and the granting of certain legal rights. Beneficence concerns agents’ duties to benefit other individuals. The chapter highlights distinctions (1) between the ideal and the nonideal and (2) between how institutions should be arranged and how individuals should act. We understand nonideal theory to address what particular actors – both states and persons – should do in the actual world today. Regarding institutions, domestically, we defend a liberal egalitarian view about distributive justice: unchosen differences in individual advantage within a society are prima facie unjust. Globally, we endorse cosmopolitanism: similar principles of justice apply internationally as apply domestically. Regarding individuals’ obligations, we defend moderately extensive duties of beneficence. We argue that national governments should ensure that all their residents have access to affordable health care and that the international community ought to amend the global intellectual property regime that governs pharmaceutical patents.
This volume offers a carefully argued, compelling theory of bioethics while eliciting practical implications for a wide array of issues including medical assistance-in-dying, the right to health care, abortion, animal research, and the definition of death. The authors' dual-value theory features mid-level principles, a distinctive model of moral status, a subjective account of well-being, and a cosmopolitan view of global justice. In addition to ethical theory, the book investigates the nature of harm and autonomous action, personal identity theory, and the 'non-identity problem' associated with many procreative decisions. Readers new to particular topics will benefit from helpful introductions, specialists will appreciate in-depth theoretical explorations and a novel take on various practical issues, and all readers will benefit from the book's original synoptic vision of bioethics. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
Chapter 7 recapitulates how Chapters 3 to 6 demonstrate that charity controllers are subject to a range of duties and mechanisms that ensure some regard be given to both present and future potential benefit recipients but that those duties and mechanisms largely lack a normative benchmark, such as intergenerational justice, to determine the timing of benefit distribution. Chapter 7 thus examines whether intergenerational justice could act as a normative basis for charity controllers’ choices about how to allocate benefits between current and future generations. It also considers the role that efficiency might play in such decision-making. The chapter then investigates the practicalities of attempting to incorporate principles of intergenerational justice into rules that constrain charity accumulation. Both general issues of practicality and specific reform options are considered. The aim is to better incorporate a normative basis for benefit distribution while at the same time protecting the potential benefits from accumulation and retaining consistency with the goals of charity law. Examples are drawn from the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.
In recent years, much public attention has been devoted to the existence of pay discrepancies between men and women at the upper end of the income scale. For example, there has been considerable discussion of the ‘Hollywood gender pay gap’. We can refer to such discrepancies as cases of millionaire inequality. These cases generate conflicting intuitions. On the one hand, the unequal remuneration involved looks like a troubling case of gender injustice. On the other, it’s natural to feel uneasy when confronted with the suggestion that multi-millionaires are somehow being paid inadequately. In this paper, we consider two arguments for rectifying millionaire inequality, clarifying their appeal but also identifying the obstacles that each will have to surmount in order to succeed.
The standard version of sufficientarianism maintains that providing people with enough, or as close to enough as is possible, is lexically prior to other distributive goals. This article argues that this is excessive – more than distributive justice allows – in four distinct ways. These concern the magnitude of advantage, the number of beneficiaries, responsibility and desert, and above-threshold distribution. Sufficientarians can respond by accepting that providing enough unconditionally is more than distributive justice allows, instead balancing sufficiency against other considerations.
This chapter illustrates how the core progressive property tension between guarding against unfair exploitation and avoiding excessive constraint of legislative freedom translates into compensation doctrine. It considers the nature and degree of constitutional protection for security of value that has resulted from the Irish property rights guarantees, including a presumptive entitlement to full compensation for deprivations, and a presumptive lack of entitlement to compensation for regulatory interferences falling short of deprivation. That analysis demonstrates how constitutional property law can combine rule-based and contextual judicial decision-making to generate relatively predictable legal principle. It further illustrates the running theme of judicial deference to political decision-making concerning the mediation of property rights and social justice, since the courts have created space for legislative exceptions to presumptive compensation entitlements to secure social justice.
Neuroimaging research regularly yields “incidental findings”: observations of potential clinical significance in healthy volunteers or patients, but which are unrelated to the purpose or variables of the study.