Justice by Lottery / Edition 2

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In this imaginative and provocative book, Barbara Goodwin explores the question of how lottery systems can achieve egalitarian social justice in societies with seemingly ineradicable inequalities.

She begins with the utopian fable of Aleatoria, a country not unlike our own in the not-too-distant-future, where most goods are distributed by lottery—even the right to have children. She then analyzes the philosophical arguments for and against lottery distribution and a comparison of "justice by lottery" with other contemporary theories of justice.

Goodwin also applies her theory to practical problems in the real world which could be—or have been—justly resolved by the use of lotteries, such as military drafts, jury duty, and immigration eligibility. She demonstrates that in many areas, including that of political power, a regular and random reallocation of goods would be a fairer and more democratic method than the distributive systems found in liberal democracies today.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Higher Education Supplement - Tom D. Campbell

"Goodwin is to be congratulated on her formidable achievement."

Times Literary Supplement - Zygmunt Bauman

"Gallantly, and with great success, she fights off the objections."

American Political Science Review - Eric Rakowski

"Insistently and acutely challenges readers to say what our moral equality justly demands."

Mind - Noam Zohar

"Justice by Lottery will richly repay close reading."

Ethics - Jonathan Riley

"Imaginative and provocative."

Political Science - Richard Mulgan

"Clearly written and honestly argued."

New Statesman - Boyd Tonkin

"Weighs in as the year's most dangerous political book. It should prove a sensation. Fat chance."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845400255
  • Publisher: Imprint Academic
  • Publication date: 6/1/2005
  • Series: Sortition and Public Policy Series
  • Edition description: 2nd ed.
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 269
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.32 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Goodwin is reader in political philosophy in the Department of Government at Brunel University.
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Table of Contents

Pt. I Preamble 1
1 Fragment from the Future 3
2 Justice and the Lottery 24
Borges's fable 24
Liberal justice 26
Babylonian justice? 29
A new view of justice? 35
Pt. II The Process 41
3 Are Lotteries Just? 43
Early uses of lotteries 43
Advantages and disadvantages 45
The concept of distribution 48
The 'primal logic' of distribution 49
Need 58
Desert 59
Uncertainty and risk 65
Beyond freedom and dignity 69
Equality, elites and control 74
4 Towards Equality 78
Assumptions of equality 78
Ineradicable inequalities 86
Equality of life chances 92
The democratization of society 93
Further advantages of the lottery 96
5 The Theory of the Lottery 101
The lottery as procedure 103
The mechanism of reflexivity 105
Risk aversion, self-interest and equality 107
Human nature 109
Procedure and theory 112
How random is random? 115
Means and ends 117
Choosing equality 118
Ideological considerations 120
Pt. III Applications 123
6 A More Modest Proposal 125
The virtues of rotation 125
Political rotation 127
Democracy and rotation 128
Rotation of work 135
The modest uses of rotation 139
7 The Lottery In Practice 142
The sinister reputation of lotteries 142
The return to favour 145
The lot as decision process 147
Democracy and lottery 153
Terrorism 162
Lotteries and the legal system 163
Economic lotteries 167
Necessary burdens 169
Social uses of the lottery 172
Tragic choices 173
Using lotteries today 178
Pt. IV The Lottery as Justice 183
8 Theories of Social Justice 185
The structure of theories 185
Goods 188
Matching goods to people 189
Outcomes 193
Permutations of justice 193
The procedural approach 197
9 Conclusions 201
The place of the Untermensch in theories of justice 201
Market justice 203
Justice and other goods 204
Bibliography 207
Index 211
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