The Distributive Justice Dilemma:

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The Distributive Justice Dilemma: ------------------------------------------------- Should the Rich Support the Poor? Philosophical Ethics Collateralized Mortgage Obligations, Synthetic Collateralized Debt Obligations, and Residential Mortgage Backed Securities are only a mere few of the financial instruments that helped spin the US financial system into a recession and place disproportionate amounts of wealth into the hands of undeserving and unjust American citizens. The current US economy is quickly beginning to resemble that of the Great Depression. A recent report by the University of California, Berkeley shows that after the 2008 financial crisis the income of the top one percent of Americans grew by 19.6% while the income of the other ninety-nine percent only grew 1%. If this wasn’t enough a 2012 report by Harvard’s Michael Norton and Duke’s Dan Ariely revealed that the top one percent of Americans hold 40% of the entire nations wealth (Norton 11). While these facts are significant in an economic sense they also call upon numerous ethical, moral, and philosophical principles namely distributive justice and political justice. This paper will present leading and relevant philosophical ideas centered around a society’s moral obligation to aid the economically underprivileged. More specifically, it will answer two important questions: (1) As a whole, does society have an obligation to help the less well off? (2) Could economic inequality actually be beneficial to the greater good of society? Through careful analysis of classical and contemporary moral distributive justice theories I have found it necessary to address this question from both a societal perspective and from an individual perspective. I believe that, as a whole, a just society has two distributive obligations to its members. First, society should provide its members with the

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