Ethics of Economics and Social Philosophies of Distribution

Paul D.Goree
SWU 194 Ethic Module Ten Answer

The questions I am responding to for this week’s post are: 1) in thinking about the various philosophies on ethics, how might they apply to the issue of taxation and income distribution? 2) When our policy makers support the idea of “family values” are their proposed social welfare policies consistent or contradictory to ethical principles as it relates to valuing families?

1) The various ethic philosophies might apply towards income distributions and taxation as follows. Through the Justice approach equal treatment for all would prevail as income distribution was set into place. Under such a system, one might expect fair income wages, benefits, with steady social services that offered empowerment for those in need, such a system would be fueled by a higher but fair taxation system.

In the PBS video “Land of The Free-Home of The Poor” Paul Solomon, introduces Dan Ariely’s, redistribution charts, whereby 3 economic systems exist. One with 20% of the wealth being held by the rich, one with 36% of the wealth being held by the rich and one with 84% of the wealth being held by the rich. The 84% represented the unjust and non-redistributed wealth of the United States, whereas the 36% represented Sweden.

I think that utilizing the Justice Approach, an ethical argument can be made which supports redistribution of wealth in the United States, which would reflect a more just percentage as Sweden, which would include a higher taxation (Progressive taxation) to support universal social service programs.

In the text, Thomas Pogge, details John Rawls understanding of the Justice Approach and distribution of income: he states, “Most contemporary theorist of justice… holds that an economic order and the economic distribution it shapes should be assessed by its foreseeable effects against the background of its feasible alternative. Thus Rawls considers a domestic economic order to be just if it produces fair equality of opportunity across social classed and no feasible alternative to it would afford better prospects to the least advantaged.” (Pg.232)

I agree with this Pogge ideal, in that a fair economic order, which provided equal advantages to all social classes, would provide economic equality. I think this can best be achieved with the Justice approach to ethics, for as detailed in the text, “…This ensures that no one is advantaged or disadvantaged in the choice of principles by the outcome of natural chance or contingency of social circumstances…the principles of justice are the result of a fair agreement or bargain…”(Pg. 45)

2) When examining the policy maker ideals of family value and policy, I find it consistent with some of the ethical approaches. For example, when considering the current issue of immigration and the “Dream Act”, the common good approach is consistent with the family values and policies regarding immigration. The Common Good approach suggest that there are common conditions that are important to the overall welfare of us all.

The “Dream Act” attempts to provide residency for those immigrants educated in the United States, who otherwise would be titled undocumented immigrants. By allowing them citizenship status, their education and careers become part of our societal pool, instead of it being shipped off to another nation. This benefits us more, seeming each individual contributes to the work population, tax payment and overall social system.

Also there is a common good received by keeping a family united, instead of dividing it.
In the text, this can be seen as Pogge details the events of the colonial period and the inequality that followed. Pogge states, “When the colonizers finally left…the inequality in per capita between Europe and Africa had grown to 30:1, and vast inequalities existed also in education, health care, infrastructure and legal and political organizations…” (Pg.230)

I think these inequalities could have been avoid, had a Common Good approach been utilized after the colonization period between Europe and Africa. Similarly, we have the “Dream Act” in the United States which is a policy determined to prevent the same inequalities Pogge detailed as resulted in Africa.

Posted From Alcatel De Mon Faire 2014


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