Distributive Justice, Ethical Egoism, and Economic Distribution

Distributive justice is a moral theory that examines whether the results produced by an action are fair in terms of benefit distribution. According to the theory, an action is considered fair if its outcomes are regarded as a fair distribution of benefits to all the people who are affected by the action. The Utilitarian school of thought agrees with the distributive justice theory as it suggests that a morally correct action maximizes social benefits to the affected people. Libertarians on the other hand disagree with the distributive justice theory and they dismiss it as conceptually confused and immoral since imposing the concept of fair distribution on people results in restriction of the power to choose.

Ethical egoism cannot be classified as a moral theory due to a lack of generalization and its self-interest nature. Pursuance of self-interest cannot make us conclude that every other person should do the same. Ethical egoism is a perspective doctrine that suggests that people are more likely to act based on their own interests. According to the doctrine, the motive of self-interest prompts people to act the way they do, but the doctrine does not state the specific motives that prompt individuals to act. Ethical egoism is considered to be a product of psychological egoism that human beings are selfish in nature and are likely to prioritize their personal interest.

Mill’s principles of economic production revolve around what the society really need and what the economy can access or measure. Mill’s approach to economic distribution is that economic production is driven by cooperatives that the workers own. He attempts to clarify that production laws are natural laws, and the distribution laws are man-made. By this argument, he alleges that while wealth is the natural end product of labor, it is the people who determine how wealth should be distributed, and this makes economics be closely tied to politics ass well as social philosophy. Ethical relativism is a moral theory that argues that an action is not absolute, but it depends on one’s culture and norms. An action draws its moral status from the beliefs and norms of the people who are directly concerned with this action. This means that an action that is morally right in one society may find moral approval in another society, thus giving rise to relativity. The lack of universal application gives ethical relativism doctrine a disputable theory status for it does not advocate for a standard framework for moral dispute resolution but it calls for a consensus among the affected individuals or societies. In my belief, though societies may differ in moral practices, the underlying moral principles should not differ.

According to Emanuel Kant, morality of an action depends on its ability to conform to the law and be undertaken for the sake of the law. In a situation where an action conforms to the law but it is not performed for the sake of the moral law, it lacks logical necessity and becomes a mere contingent of subjective conditions. By this, Kant implies that an action is usually motivated by a sense of duty, and its moral status relies on the purpose of the action and the principles upon which it is decided.

Conscience is an important moderator and regulator of moral behavior. If a judgment of conscience can be applied in a manner that conforms to the principles of natural reasoning, it pronounces what is morally right. The unique feature of conscience as a moral guide is that it is not a product of any cultural or societal codes, and this makes it not subjective. However, conscience can be a potentially destructive tool for making moral judgments if the people coming up with these judgments lack reasoning, principles, good habits, and intellectual virtues.

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