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Human capital and redistribution / The Question of Consensus

Anno XXXII, n. 140, maggio-agosto 1997
Centro Einaudi


Testo disponibile solo in lingua inglese.
The idea that social harmony must be predicated in consensus is both dangerous and misleading. The essential problem of our time is, rather, to create political and social institutions that enable people to live together peacefully and productively, notwithstanding uneliminable disagreements over theoretical and practical issues. The social model of the team whose members work together towards a common purpose is unrealistic. A more adequate one is that of a classical capitalism, in which both competition and rivalry ultimately benefit the community. Of course the "scientific community" is also an excellent example, although we again have to avoid painting too idealised a picture. Setting out from these premisses, it is possible to conclude that even in the field of distributive justice, aprioristic rationalism ought to be abandoned. What really matters is a shift of attention from the distribution to the production of goods. In fact, the economic context in which goods are distributed makes a crucial difference, and any theory of distributive justice which does not take this into account will prove impotent in practice.