Skip to content

23 September 2021

Unjust inequalities: Is maximin the answer?

When are inequalities unjust? My own simple answer is: if and only if they reflect a departure from distributive justice as real freedom for all. Or, somewhat less elliptically: if and only if they are the product of an institutional framework that tends to distribute real freedom among people in such a way that the real freedom of those with least real freedom is less than it could sustainably be under some alternative institutional framework. In this short contribution, I shall reflect on challenges to this answer that claim either that it is too egalitarian or that it is not egalitarian enough. Most of these challenges apply equally to other conceptions of distributive justice that rely, like this one, on a maximin criterion. Reflecting on these challenges will lead me to address, from this particular angle, many of the issues discussed by Debra Satz and Stuart White in their illuminating and comprehensive survey and by Eric Posner in his lucid complementary note.

Read the full commentary here.