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“Social and Economic Justice” Presentation © 2005 by Barry Brownstein.

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1 “Social and Economic Justice” Presentation © 2005 by Barry Brownstein

2 Prologue: Anger, Beliefs and Justice  “Personal injustice” dates back to childhood. Who has gotten from their parents, school etc. everything that they thought they deserved?  “The concept of justice gets translated into the simple belief that life, meaning, personal experience, is supposed to conform to one’s ideas about how it is supposed to be. When it does not, anger arises.”  Some wrongly see anger as constructive energy in facilitating “justice.” Anger is painful, exhausting and destructive

3 Natural Rights vs. Positive Law  Finite and defined- right not to be coerced, if you do not violate someone else’s rights  win-win (not scarce, one person’s use of self-ownership doesn’t conflict with someone else’s use)  conduct considered  Ill-defined- whatever advances ‘the common-good’ (i.e. ‘right to a good job’, ‘right to health care’, ‘right for small store to compete against Walmart)  win-lose- there is no “right to a particular state of affairs unless it is the duty of someone to secure it.” - Hayek  outcomes considered

4 Two Questions To Consider  …’whether within an economic order based on the market the concept of "social justice' has any meaning or content whatever’.- Hayek  …’whether it is possible to preserve a market order while imposing upon it (in the name of social justice or any pretext) some pattern of remuneration based on the assessment of the performance or the needs of different individuals or groups by an authority possessing the power to enforce it.’- Hayek

5 Why Does ‘Social Justice’ Sound Attractive? ...‘the results of the spontaneous ordering of the market were interpreted as if some thinking being deliberately directed them, or as if the particular benefits or harm different persons derived from them were determined by deliberate acts of will’…  …’the demand for 'social justice' therefore becomes a demand that the members of society should organize themselves in a manner which makes it possible to assign particular shares of the product of society to the different individuals or groups.’

6 No One to Blame l “nobody's will can determine the relative incomes of the different people, or prevent that they be partially dependent on accident.” l “men can be allowed to decide what work to do only if the remuneration they can expect to get for it corresponds to the value their services have to those of their fellows who receive them; and that these values which their services will have to their fellows will often have no relations to their individual merits or needs.” - Hayek

7 Conduct of the Players l “Incomes earned in the market by different persons will normally not correspond to the relative values of their services to any one person...the performance of a Beethoven sonata...or a play by Shakespeare have no 'value to society' but a value only to those who know and appreciate them.” l “The rationale of the economic game in which only the conduct of the players but not the result can be just.”

8 Knowledge, Justice and Spontaneous Orders l “Most of the knowledge on which we rely in the pursuit of our ends is the unintended by-product of others exploring the world in different directions from those we pursue ourselves because they are impelled by different aims; it would never have become available to us if only those ends were pursued which we regarded as desirable.” - Hayek l New knowledge and discovery is inhibited if coercion is used

9 Equal Outcomes or Equality?  “... to assure the same material position to people who differ greatly in their strength, intelligence, skill, knowledge and perseverance as well as in their physical and social environment, government would clearly have to treat them very differently to compensate for those disadvantages and deficiencies it could not directly alter.”  “If such claims (positive rights) are to be met, the spontaneous order which we call society must be replaced by a deliberately directed organization: the cosmos of the market would have to be replaced by the taxis whose members would have to do what they are instructed to do.”

10 When Government Gives Special Privilege  Average annual compensation of 100 top CEOs 37.5 million.  Top 1% of households earns 20% of income and holds 33.4 of all net worth.  To the extent that is the result of entrepreneurial insight they have helped raise our standard of living.  Financial bubbles, trade barriers, cable franchises, subsidies to sport teams and other firms, opportunities for lawyers and labor market distortions etc. create non-market privileges and increase inequality.

11 Discrimination  The greater the restrictions in the output market, the greater the level of discrimination. example- AT&T (pre-deregulation)  The greater the competition, the lower the level of discrimination. example- technology companies  Thus the more we move to remove government privileges such as trade barriers etc. the lower the level of discrimination.

12 Are Markets “Dog Eat Dog”?  In most non free-markets, the most cunning and intimidating thrive  Markets are a mixture of cooperation and competition  Reputation and trust are essential elements in markets  In free-markets property rights are respected for all contracts are respected and enforced people are free to exchange  The most productive do the best but all thrive due to capital accumulation but many volunteer and are charitable technology helps the ill, less fit and disabled

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