The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

All attempts at distributive justice are unjust and enslave free people

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/22/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 month ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 157 times Debate No: 106980
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)




Round 1 for acceptance
Round 2 for opening arguments
Round 3 for first rebuttals and refining of arguments
Round 4 for final rebuttals (no new arguments)
Round 5 for closing arguments

'distributive' = reallocation of wealth based on an expected distribution
'just/ice' = fairness
'unjust' = opposite of just
'enslave' = to force free people to work for the benefit of others for all/some of their time (usually with little or no compensation)


Hello! I'm happy to participate in such an interesting and important debate. I hope we both can understand each other's views and come to a valid conclusion at the end. I agree with all definitions listed by Pro.
Debate Round No. 1


Wealth inequality has existed throughout all societies, throughout time. Often obeying Paretos law of an c.80 of wealth, held by c.20 of the population. The question distributive justice poses is: "is this just?". Is it just that some people have only a little, whilst others have more than enough? Those claiming that it is not just, argue that a re-ordering of society to some normative pattern, is required to rectify this situation. Thus a distributive justice programme to shift Wealth is proposed by either a) explicit forcible confiscation through revolution into the hands of a proxy (Marxism), b) implicit forcible action backed by a legal framework into the hands of the state as proxy through taxation (often progressive).

There are 3 main contentions in this opening statement:
- Distributive justice causes more injustice through increasing poverty because it slows economic growth and progress through government waste, taxation on productive economic activity, discouraging innovation and the creation of hurdles for business. In addition it causes poverty because it creates a disincentive to work and act responsibly.
- Distributive justice causes injustice directly because of it promotes coercive force to remove the justifiably held property of certain individuals and becomes a powerful tool for limiting freedoms and applying arbitrary rules.
- Distributive justice causes more injustice through enslaving a proportion of the population disproportionately.

But what is meant by Justice? There are essentially 2 perspectives:1) an historical view (eg Nozick "Entitlement Theory"), 2) an end-state view (eg Rawls "Difference Principle").

Rawls argued that It holds that inequalities in the distribution of wealth outcomes are permissible only if they benefit the least well-off positions of society. This has been referred to by Thomas Sowell as "the Winos veto". Such that anyone who would be worse off by a generally beneficial societal development could hold back progress for all. However more formally this approach was rejected by Nozick using a reductio type approach through the "Wilt Chamberlain" thought experiment. In this experiment we need to go through the following steps:

1 - Imagine a roughly equal wealth distribution in society in line with your preferred pattern call it D1
2 - Wilt Chamberlain (an all star 70s NBA player) agrees a contract with his team management that each ticket for his games are increased by 0.25 cents and he gets that increase paid to him directly
3 - All parties freely agree and the teams fans, keen to continue to see Wilt play for their team, voluntary and happily pay the extra
4 - After 1 million people have seen Wilt play in the season, Wilt now has 250,000 USD more and the fans 0.25 cents less per game they attended
5 - We have now arrived at wealth distribution D2, which is decidedly unequal compared to D1
6 - But because all of the actions in 2 to 4 were freely entered into by the voluntary actions of free agents there is no injustice and thus D2 can be said to be just.

Thus unequal distributions can be just, providing that the steps to acquire or transfer that wealth were in themselves just. This is central to Nozicks Entitlement theory. Accordingly a holding of Wealth is just (fair) if it has been arrived at through voluntary means.

Furthermore it gets worse for the end-state model and distributive justice advocates. Now we have demonstrated that voluntary action to act, disturbs distributive patterns (moving from D1 to D2 above). We now must also note to keep a pattern of distributive justice, we must interfere with the liberty of all economic actors continuously and forever by banning, stopping or arresting people for engaging in voluntary transactions. A never ending cycle of chaotic, expensive regulatory intervention is required to continually artificially hold onto the Utopian vision. In other words even if everyone might temporarily have enough money, either given to them by the state or left with them by the beneficence of the state, they will be unable to do anything voluntary with it. Leading to an injustice for all.

And still it gets worse. These same policies then tend to lead to economic chaos, stagnation and collapse as prices are disturbed in heavily regulated markets and more incentives are removed. Stalling the growth of Wealth, meaning everyone eventually becomes poorer:
- Much of the money that goes to the government ends up being wasted, resulting in ineffective government programs, and less wealth for all.
- Many are tempted to assume that money collected by the government goes to help the poor and downtrodden. However, much of that money ends up in the hands of politically connected middle classes (Directors law)
- It concentrates money and power in the hands of the government. When government grows, corruption grows.
- A soak-the-rich, high tax strategy inhibits the economy. And who is hurt the most by a slow economy? The poor.
- The transfer of earned wealth that policies mandate are a detriment to entrepreneurship and innovation.
- Entrepreneurship and innovation of products and services are driven by the potential for material rewards.
High taxes and government regulations make it more difficult to start and grow a business, thereby leaving much greater opportunities for those who are already rich and have the resources to overcome those difficulties.
- Social programs create more demand and need for those very programs in a self perpetuating cycle because given government handouts, people come to expect and rely on them. And therefore, you can never spend enough, because the more you do, the greater the need to do so becomes. Who suffers? The poor.
- Social programs are a disincentive to work and act responsibly. Who suffers? The poor.
- A combination of the above points causes a vicious cycle of decreasing revenues and increasing demand for social spending that results in a government running out of money and having "no choice" but to perpetuated tax increases to every level of society, rich and poor.

So the fundamental flaw with distributive justice (end-state views) is the misguided notion that Wealth just exists. It takes no account of how Wealth came into existence, why it may be justly held even if not equally distributed, why it is likely to always remain unequal, nor what builds more Wealth in the long run (for all). Reality is not composed of end state distributions but of continuous stream of transactions of millions of people creating historical causal chains of wealth, they justifiably hold.

When left to its own, these causal chains working under the laws of supply and demand and marginal utility optimise at equilibria most beneficial to the society as a whole, giving the most just and fairest distribution possible at any one point. It is thus absurd, immoral and unjust to manage to a pattern in a distributive justice model.

Your personal Wealth holding, in an ostensibly Capitalist country, is merely a reflection of the economic bargains and transactions you have made (and freely entered into). People are not random events and individuals have different talents which will facilitate either more or higher value or both of such freely entered into bargain and transactions. Thus the final point is that in order to gain some form of distributive (in)justice we must force that very proportion of the population to disproportionately suffer from an arbitrary rule, where they pay more for the benefit of others. To force people to work for the benefit of others disproportionately is an enslavement of those people and an injustice.
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by John_C_1812 1 month ago
All Free people enslave themselves as the word free also includes the loss of right to self-value and not just an outside placed cost. This means people who are truly free are enslaved by loss of self-value and cot placed upon them. The United States First Amendment is making a change on liberty declared by the declaration of independence. Yet it is only an amendment to the United States Constitution.

Justice by the term cannot be fair some-one is predicted to loss. This will never be fair. Justice must be impartial as both winner and loser can agree on impartiality of an event which basically only separates them.

My only grievance is that enslave is an action of authority granted by War. What happens past the authority of slave is achieved is incidentals to the compensation to the cost of the War. This topic could be a rash intense debate itself.
Posted by Wylted 1 month ago
I know you"re online. I"m going to get offline. I would appreciate if you challenged me directly so we can work on getting this started before somebody who is going to forfeit in round two snaps this up.
Posted by Wylted 1 month ago
Can you challenge me directly and tell me what reallocation of wealth based on expected distribution means?
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