Social Justice

From Critiques Of Libertarianism
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People who tend to the Libertarian side are usually people who have yet to experience the need for financial assistance or social justice. They have little sympathy for these ideas because they often arise from "free" interaction and their solutions may involve regulation and redistribution.


Libertarian Social Justice [More...]
Libertarian Paul Crider argues that libertarians conflate social justice with redistribution, which is only one solution to the numerous problems of oppression, exploitation, and other assaults on human dignity. Some excellent references and a much-needed start for opening the eyes of libertarians.
Cuba: A health system designed to serve to health of the people, not the profit of a few [More...]
"But what the Cuban model shows is that it is possible to have a health system based on trying to provide needed health care, relatively equitably, to everyone in the society."
Improving public health through socialised medicine: Evidence from the Family Medicine Program in Turkey [More...]
"Results show that the program was successful in lowering both mortality and birth rates across provinces, particularly for the most vulnerable populations. These findings provide compelling evidence in favour of providing accessible healthcare services to all citizens."
Keynes on Laissez-Faire [More...]
Gavin Kennedy writes: "‘Laissez-nous faire’ is not advocated as a universal principle for merchants and their customers; it was a very partial principle for merchants only... [Mill and mine owners] wrapped themselves in laissez-faire flags to wipe up the blood of their employees when they demanded their own freedoms and not those of their labourers or their customers."
Morals and Markets [More...]
"We present controlled experimental evidence on how market interaction changes how human subjects value harm and damage done to third parties." A research article published in Science.
Musical Chairs Theory Of Economic Justice
Competition, self-improvement and meritocracy do not improve economic justice outcomes in a musical chairs model. No matter how loudly Horatio Alger is invoked, there still will be only one winner of a game of musical chairs, and many losers. Likewise, no matter how responsably the players attempt to act, how much they struggle to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, only one will finish in a chair.
The importance of redistribution [More...]
"democratic egalitarianism"--the idea that individuals flourish best in a free society that allows them to choose democratically the rules that govern their lives, with the understanding that the institutions must be sustainable and must allow all individuals to flourish, not just a select few.
The Kind of Anarchism I Believe in, and What's Wrong with Libertarians [More...]
Noam Chomsky points out that anarchism means requiring justification for authority: not blind opposition to authority. He describes libertarianism as a preference for private, unaccountable authority. And he discusses our system of propaganda and control.
The ‘Mirage’ of Social Justice: Hayek Against (and For) Rawls [More...]
An academic paper which argues that Hayek is a closet Rawlsian / egalitarian liberal who reaches inegalitarian conclusions only via equivocation and implausible empirical claims.


There are substantial parts of ordinary human activity that don't make sense if we think of rationality as egoistic maximization of utility. Collective action, group mobilization, religious sacrifice, telling the truth, and working to the fullest extent of one's capabilities are all examples of activity where narrow egoistic rationality would dictate different choices than those ordinary individuals are observed to make. And yet ordinary individuals are not irrational when they behave this way. Rather, they are reflective and deliberative, and they have reasons for their actions. So the theory of rationality needs to have a way of representing this non-egoistic reasonableness.
Daniel Little, "Amartya Sen's commitments"
[H]umans are, at a very deep and basic level, gift-exchange animals. We create and reinforce our social bonds by establishing patterns of “owing” other people and by “being owed”. We want to enter into reciprocal gift-exchange relationships. We create and reinforce social bonds by giving each other presents. We like to give. We like to receive. We like neither to feel like cheaters nor to feel cheated. We like, instead, to feel embedded in networks of mutual reciprocal obligation. We don’t like being too much on the downside of the gift exchange: to have received much more than we have given in return makes us feel very small. We don’t like being too much on the upside of the gift exchange either: to give and give and give and never receive makes us feel like suckers. We want to be neither cheaters nor saps.
Brad DeLong, "Regional Policy and Distributional Policy in a World Where People Want to Ignore the Value and Contribution of Knowledge and Network-Based Increasing Returns"
This wish to believe that you are not a moocher is what keeps people from seeing issues of distribution and allocation clearly -- and generates hostility to social insurance and to wage supplement policies, for they rip the veil off of the idea that you deserve to be highly paid because you are worth it. You aren’t.
Brad DeLong, "Regional Policy and Distributional Policy in a World Where People Want to Ignore the Value and Contribution of Knowledge and Network-Based Increasing Returns"
Well one of the main problems for students today -- a huge problem -- is sky-rocketing tuitions. Why do we have tuitions that are completely out-of-line with other countries, even with our own history? In the 1950s the United States was a much poorer country than it is today, and yet higher education was … pretty much free, or low fees or no fees for huge numbers of people. There hasn’t been an economic change that’s made it necessary, now, to have very high tuitions, far more than when we were a poor country. And to drive the point home even more clearly, if we look just across the borders, Mexico is a poor country yet has a good educational system with free tuition. There was an effort by the Mexican state to raise tuition, maybe some 15 years ago or so, and there was a national student strike which had a lot of popular support, and the government backed down. Now that’s just happened recently in Quebec, on our other border. Go across the ocean: Germany is a rich country. Free tuition. Finland has the highest-ranked education system in the world. Free … virtually free. So I don’t think you can give an argument that there are economic necessities behind the incredibly high increase in tuition. I think these are social and economic decisions made by the people who set policy. And [these hikes] are part of, in my view, part of a backlash that developed in the 1970s against the liberatory tendencies of the 1960s. Students became much freer, more open, they were pressing for opposition to the war, for civil rights, women’s rights … and the country just got too free. In fact, liberal intellectuals condemned this, called it a “crisis of democracy:” we’ve got to have more moderation of democracy. They called, literally, for more commitment to indoctrination of the young, their phrase … we have to make sure that the institutions responsible for the indoctrination of the young do their work, so we don’t have all this freedom and independence. And many developments took place after that. I don’t think we have enough direct documentation to prove causal relations, but you can see what happened. One of the things that happened was controlling students -- in fact, controlling students for the rest of their lives, by simply trapping them in debt. That’s a very effective technique of control and indoctrination.
Noam Chomsky, "The Kind of Anarchism I Believe in, and What's Wrong with Libertarians"
Well what’s called libertarian in the United States, which is a special U. S. phenomenon, it doesn’t really exist anywhere else -- a little bit in England -- permits a very high level of authority and domination but in the hands of private power: so private power should be unleashed to do whatever it likes. The assumption is that by some kind of magic, concentrated private power will lead to a more free and just society. [...] that kind of libertarianism, in my view, in the current world, is just a call for some of the worst kinds of tyranny, namely unaccountable private tyranny.
Noam Chomsky, "The Kind of Anarchism I Believe in, and What's Wrong with Libertarians"