This chapter examines what it calls “social justicitis”—a strongly negative, even allergic, reaction to the ideal of social or distributive justice. Social justicitis is a malady from which many defenders of private economic liberty suffer. For libertarians, arguments on behalf of social justice may be as threatening as a bee sting is to some people. In the case of classical liberals, social justicitis arises as an adverse reaction to talk about social justice at the level of public policy. The chapter first considers the notion of distributional adequacy condition from the perspective of classical liberalism and libertarianism before discussing the arguments of classical liberals and libertarians regarding property and the poor. It also explores F. A. Hayek's critique of social justice and the implications of his theory of spontaneous order with respect to distributional ideals.
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