Getting to Justice? On Albert Weale: Democratic Justice

Article by PluriCourts co-director Andreas Føllesdal. Read the article (SSRN).

This article focuses on how Weale's view in Democratic Justice (Oxford University Press 2013) fits into and responds to two strands of social contract traditions and their critics: the contractarian tradition as he claims to, which seeks to justify normative principles of justice from non-moral premises. The alternative is the contractualist tradition which assumes that individuals are also motivated by other-regarding moral considerations. The aim of the latter is often limited to systematize and specify vague and contested normative judgments concerning shared institutions. There are tensions in Weale's book whether it addresses the question of concern to contractarians or that of contractualists.

A second question concerns Weale's attempt to extrapolate principles of justice from common property resource regimes within the basic structure of society to that basic structure of a 'great society' itself. The impact of the basic structure on individuals is so pervasive that the principle Weale proposes appears to be misapplied. A claim to the marginal product in complex modes of production supplemented by a social insurance scheme says little about the distributive principles for assessing how the basic structure should engender the distribution of marginal products among us.

Published Dec. 4, 2015 3:13 PM