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This chapter examines the concept of distributive justice, asking in particular whether citizens should have the liberty to acquire and dispose of property however they see fit, or whether there are justified restrictions on economic activity in the name of liberty or justice. It begins with a discussion of the problem of distributive justice, taking into account a variety of differing opinions on how a liberal society should distribute property, along with the so-called income parade. It then considers property and markets, focusing on John Locke's ideas, and the free market principle. It also explores John Rawls's theory of justice and some of the criticisms levelled against him, including those by Robert Nozick.

Chapter

6. Leave It to the Market  

Economic Rationalism

Economic rationalism involves the intelligent deployment of market instruments to achieve public ends such as environmental protection and resource conservation. The instruments in question can involve the establishment of private property rights in land, air, and water; “cap and trade” markets in pollution rights (emissions trading); tradeable quotes in resources such as fish; green taxes, such as a carbon tax; and the purchase of offsets to compensate for environmentally damaging behavior. These instruments have been adopted in many countries, though with some resistance from those who believe there is more to life than economic reasoning.

Chapter

Eleanor Brooks, Sarah Rozenblum, Scott L. Greer, and Anniek de Ruijter

This chapter explores the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the EU’s health policy. Health is an area where member states have historically been reluctant to cede powers. Consequently, the EU’s treaty competences in health are limited. The chapter introduces the extent and parameters of the EU’s role and the resulting patchwork of health policy and law which exists at European level. When COVID-19 emerged, the EU could not offer a comprehensive response, although the scale of the emergency put pressure on norms of solidarity and free movement. The chapter reviews the EU’s response within six different areas of (health and non-health) policy, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the EU’s efforts to fight and mitigate the pandemic using the public health, internal market, and fiscal governance dimensions of its health powers before discussing the implications of the pandemic and the EU’s response.