29. “Distributive Justice and Free Market Economics: A Eudaimonistic Perspective”


Abstract: In today’s society, a peculiar understanding of distributive justice has developed which holds that “social justice must be distributed by the coercive force of government.” However, this is a perversion of the ideal of distributive justice. The perspective of distributive justice which should be considered is one with its roots in the school of thought referred to as self-actualization ethics or eudaimonism, which holds that each person is unique and each should discover whom he or she is—to actualize his or her true potential and to live the “good life” within the congeniality and complementarity of personal excellences of his or her fellow members of community. When a eudaimonistic perspective is considered, a definition of distributive of justice could be “the allocation of goods and utilities via the voluntary ubiquitous human interaction of self-actualizing individuals who not only recognize the human dignity of the self and other and the rights which flow from and guarantee it, but also actively will goods and utilities toward the self and other so as to manifest human dignity.” Therefore, with a eudaimonistic understanding of distributive justice, one can argue that the free market is the ubiquitous interactions of self-actualizing individuals who are giving and receiving goods and utilities for one and another’s own “happiness,” i.e. the free market is the socio-economic mechanism by which distributive justice operates. In this paper I first will overview the philosophical foundations of distributive justice. Next, I will propose a eudaimonistic definition of distributive justice. Finally, I will highlight examples of distributive justice operating in a free market economy.