Private Property and Social Justice: Complements or Substitutes?

Source: EconLog
by Rosolino Candela

“What relationship, if any, exists between the right to private property and social justice? The concept of social justice has been, and continues to be, an elusive one, particularly because this concept has been broadened to encompass a wide variety of issues, including corporate social irresponsibility, environmental degradation, financial chaos, systemic racial and ethnic discrimination, and distribution of income. To the extent that the definition of social justice continues to expand the umbrella of issues it encompasses, casting an ever-wider shadow over the legitimacy of the free market, I argue that it becomes ever more important not to ignore questions of social justice. Therefore, my hope here is to establish not only the complementarity between private property and social justice, but also establish that private property is the precondition for the discovery of what is socially just in the first place.” (05/02/22)