Distributive Justice:
A Bahá'í Perspective

By Farhad Sabetan

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #88
Bosch Bahá'í School: Santa Cruz, California, USA
May 28 – June 1, 2009
(see list of papers from #88)

    Distributive Justice has been one of the main concerns of moral philosophy. Many philosophers have offered conceptions of justice that would be applicable to the distribution of wealth and income. The issue gained significant momentum in the latter part of the 20th Century with the path-braking works of John Rawls (A Theory of Justice), and later of Robert Nozick (Anarchy, State and Utopia ), among others. These theories, especially Rawls' theory of justice as fairness, will be discussed and critiqued in this presentation. Specifically, we will examine egalitarianism (where benefits and burdens are distributed equally), socialism (from each according to ability, to each according to needs), libertarianism (from each according to ability, to each according to willingness to pay), and various aspects of merit distribution (Plato's version, seniority, effort, output, etc.). An alternative Bahá'í-inspired theory of justice is presented that may, at the very least, complement Rawls', in that it would offer a realistic proxy to his original position where actors make decisions behind the veil of ignorance.

this paper is not yet online