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Liberalism and Distributive Justice$
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Samuel Freeman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190699260

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190699260.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 June 2021

The Social and Institutional Bases of Distributive Justice

The Social and Institutional Bases of Distributive Justice

(p.203) 6 The Social and Institutional Bases of Distributive Justice
Liberalism and Distributive Justice

Samuel Freeman

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that distributive justice is institutionally based. Certain cooperative institutions are basic: they are necessary for economic production and the division of labor, trade and exchange, and distribution and consumption. These background institutions presuppose principles of justice to specify their terms, allocate productive resources, and define fair distributions. Primary among these basic institutions are property; laws and conventions enabling transfers of goods and productive resources; and the legal system of contract and agreements that make transfers possible and productive. Political institutions are necessary to specify, interpret, enforce, and make effective the terms of these institutions. Thus, basic cooperative institutions are social; they are realizable only within the context of social and political cooperation—this is a fixed empirical fact about cooperation among free and equal persons. Given the nature of fair social cooperation as a kind of reciprocity, distributive justice is primarily social rather than global in reach.

Keywords:   distributive justice, social justice, social institutions, economic justice, global justice

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