Distributive justice : an ordering of priorities : A comparative analysis of European opinions
Revue internationale de sociologie
GB : Routledge
205 - 225 p.
Distributive justice, Values, Europe, Opinions
As far as distributive justice is concerned, an important issue is to know whether the different principles by which a given distribution of goods is judged fair or unfair are exclusive or complementary. The European Values Survey carried out in 1999 shows clearly the priorities of Europeans in this matter. The first concerns the guarantee that ‘basic needs are met for all’, then comes ‘recognizing people on their merits’ and finally ‘eliminating big inequalities in income’. The consensus on this hierarchy is not altered by national, demographical, social, economic or political divisions. These different divisions do indeed influence opinions on each criterion, but, with very few exceptions, they are not sufficient to upset this order of priorities. Thus, the usual applied principles of distributive justice do not define competing spheres. Their nested (or ‘lexical’) order is compatible with the purely procedural condition of ‘equal liberty’.