João Labareda
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Two distributive duties
in Towards a just Europe
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This chapter addresses the question, why should we redistribute? The author introduces two distributive duties: the democratic duty to redistribute and the duty of economic reciprocity. The democratic duty to redistribute consists of providing the means for political participation and resistance to power to all the members of a polity. In turn, the duty of economic reciprocity requires a fair distribution of the gains of economic exchange amongst all market participants. The author argues that each of these duties implies its own policy instruments. The democratic duty to redistribute is to be translated into a basket of basic goods, which includes (i) means of subsistence, (ii) healthcare, (iii) education, and (iv) resources for due process in court. In turn, the duty of economic reciprocity is to be realized mainly through labour regulation and economic and monetary policy. The geographical scope of application of these duties depends on whether the conditions which trigger them are met. These conditions are, in the former case, comprehensively institutionalized democratic and coercive institutions and, in the latter case, varying degrees of economic integration – national markets, free trade areas, and the global market.

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Towards a just Europe

A theory of distributive justice for the European Union


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