Cohen on Justice and Equality reading group (3)

by Ingrid Robeyns on February 10, 2009

So we’ve finally arrived at Chapter 3 in Cohen’s Rescuing Justice and Equality. In Chapter 3, ‘The Basic Structure Objection’, he aims to show that principles of distributive justice apply to people’s legally unconstrained choices. Rawls, whose theory of justice is his main target in this book, has famously argued that the primary subject of justice is what he calls ‘the basic structure of society’, being “the way in which the major social institutions distribute fundamental rights and duties and determine the division of advantages from social cooperation” (TJ Rev Ed p. 6). Cohen’s critique on Rawls is that the principles of justice should also apply to choices which are left open by the rules of those institutions.

As with other chapters in this book, this chapter is also more or less a reprint, from his 1997 article ‘Where the Action is: on the site of distributive justice’. So the claims Cohen makes here are not new, and have already been debated. So let me just pick up a few points (hopefully not too idiosyncratic) that either struck me or particularly interested me. [click to continue…]

Are blogs ruining economic debate?

by Henry on February 10, 2009

“Clive Crook”:http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/437694de-f602-11dd-a9ed-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check=1 suggests that they’re at least part of the problem.

I used to have no time for the idea that economists never agree, so economics must be a bogus science and a waste of time. Of course economists disagree, I would say. … But my earlier confidence that economists are not wasting their own and everybody else’s time is diminishing. Are the leaders of the profession measuring up to the standards I just mentioned? Are they helping to improve policy, or raise the standard of public understanding? You could easily argue the opposite. … This impression of disarray – that economics has nothing clear to say on these questions – is not the fault of economics as such. It is a mostly false impression created by some of its leading public intellectuals, Mr Krugman among them. …

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Conference on Justice, Care and the Family

by Ingrid Robeyns on February 10, 2009

We’ve been discussing here at CT many, many times issues related to justice, care and the family, so I thought some of you may want to know that I’m organising a conference on that theme with some truly world-class scholars in this area. Information below the fold. There is a strictly limited number of seats, so if you’re interested, then immediate registration is highly recommended.
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