Redistributive justice

Redistributive justice is the equalization of property and wealth ownership by direct political fiat. It includes taxation designed to move wealth from one group to another, "land reform" and other means to promote "equality”. It is frequently associated with Marxism, socialism, or the transition from aristocracy or other form of oligarchy to more broadly based governments.

Justice is relative in this regard as to the beneficiary of the redistribution versus the donor/s and may not reflect concepts of social justice. The source of the wealth to be redistributed is therefore an important component of the actual justice of the redistribution. Whether the donation is voluntary or being co-opted by force is a key determination of justice. Redistributive justice is appealed to when wealth redistribution is justified on utilitarian grounds and when these grounds are used to override individual rights and property rights.

We should distinguish between distributive and redistributive systems. Distributive justice is where the government has an income or an asset that it owns (e.g. oil reserves) and it distributes the wealth as it sees fit to its concept of justice. Redistributive justice is exercised by government through taxation or expropriation of property. Redistributive justice removes wealth from some members of society under the government's jurisdiction through governmental powers, for the benefit of others whom the government determines as in need or deserving.

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