The aim of the book is to uncover the relation between market and justice through the critical examination of the work of Friedrich Hayek. The book argues for the following thesis: the institution of free market is not the only candidate social system; substantial, not merely formal distributive justice must become the central virtue of our social institutions. Notwithstanding its achievements and virtues, the Hayekian theory makes a simple mistake by equivocating possible social systems, dividing them into two groups. One is the world of liberty and free market where people follow the general and abstract rules of conduct, accepting the outcome of market processes, be those good or bad. The other is the world of coercion and repression in which organized distributive instituions dominate and free market is non-existent. According to Hayek’s famous thesis, although freedom is possible in the latter world, we are nevertheless already on the road to serfdom: this fate is inevitable. In this dichotomy the decision is indeed simple. If justice is nothing else but the Trojan horse of oppression, then it is indeed a dangerous and unworkable ideal. However, if this dichotomy does not hold and there is a variety of acceptable social systems, then justice may become the central virtue of institutions, thereby contradicting Hayek’s theory. In the second half of the book I present this alternative, justice-governed social system in more detail.
- distributive justice,
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