Nozick's Patterned Theory

860 Words 4 Pages
In the Wilt Chamberlain example, Nozick attempts to show that patterned principles of just distribution are incompatible with liberty. Nozick argues that what the Wilt Chamberlain example shows is that no patterned principle of just distribution will be compatible with liberty. To preserve the pattern which was agreed to in the original position, the state will have to continually interfere with people's ability to freely exchange their shares allotted by the patterned principles. For any exchange of these shares explicitly involves violating the pattern that originally ordered it.

One criticism that is made is that if we start with an acceptable distribution of income, and a million people, say out of a society of million and two people,
…show more content…
On this representation, at the end of each day (or week or month) the advocate of, say, the Rawlsian difference principle will determine whether the existing distribution can be transformed into one that provides a higher income for those in the least advantaged for the next day (or week or month); if such a transformation is available then the difference principle advocate will require it as a matter of justice. Thus, the constant interference in the name of justice with the results of people acting as they choose with their purported just holdings. However, the difference principle is meant to guide the design of the basic institutional structure of society; it provides the basic structure with the aim of raising the lifetime prospects of the least advantaged group as much as possible. Wilt does not have a claim in justice to his holdings on the day before the fans transfer $250,000 to him or to his holdings on the following day. He has a claim in justice to the lifetime income that will accrue to him when a basic structure is in place which, through enabling income acquisition, taxing, regulating, and subsidizing income yields the highest possible lifetime income for the least

Related Documents