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Distributive justice concerns the way in which the resources of a society are to be justly distributed among its members. The theory of distributive justice attempts to answer the following question: “How should the scarce goods of society be allocated among claimants?” Thus, distributive justice contrasts with other questions of justice such as compensatory justice, commutative justice, retributory justice, and so on. Distributive justice is also sometimes called social justice or economic justice.

The theory of distributive justice assesses alternative distributional principles, outcomes, and institutional arrangements of a society from a moral perspective. For example, some would consider a society in which goods are unequally distributed to be prima facie unjust based simply on that unequal distribution. By contrast, other theories focus exclusively on the justness ...

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