Do the mentally ill suffer unneeded distributive injustice?

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Through the Test of Time. Mary Howland Harrington. Spiritual Encounters. Alejandro Miramontes. Sr Kavara Gabriel Gee. Grace to Survive. Torn Apart. For those that use pre-payment meters, over half say that energy is a daily concern for them, so it actively causes anxiety. People with mental health challenges may struggle to engage with market. They just switch their energy off. They sit in the dark and the cold … Vulnerable consumers are losers of the smart meter program … smart meters are incapable of responding to any of the root causes of that exclusion, which is poverty.

Our analysis therefore shows that there are several vulnerable groups who need to receive better recognition of the issues they, and others, face in low-carbon transitions. Those on low incomes were affected in all four cases, but most notably in Germany and Norway where people with limited incomes have had to bear the cost of subsidies of new programs while not being able—due to a lack of finance—to reap any of the benefits. Distributive: Uneven concentration of jobs, negative impacts on property prices near nuclear infrastructure. Procedural: Centralized, authoritarian decision-making without broad public consultation or participation.

Commit to broader public involvement, consider a national referendum on the future of nuclear power. Cosmopolitan: Uranium mining and exports of nuclear equipment to countries with poor safeguards. Recognition: Creation of poor housing segment dependent on inefficient and high priced electrical heating.

Improve housing conditions through better insulation and provide tariff reform to protect poor households. Distributive: Unemployment in the coal and nuclear sectors, uneven access to the FIT. Skills retraining for nuclear engineers and coalminers, promotion of solar on balconies, better access for those not owning roofs. Procedural: The capture of solar policy by industrial interests, intentional slowing down of the transition, barriers to entry.

Cosmopolitan: Raw materials, overseas manufacturing, and waste. Recognition: Burdens on single families, the elderly, and the poor. Distributive: EV ownership limited to those with higher income, increased traffic congestion for busses, erosion of revenues for ferry operators. Increase consumer knowledge of cheaper EVs, less subsidies for those on high-incomes, compensation for disrupted sectors toll roads, ferries, charging.

Procedural: Exclusion of e-bikes, planning bias towards motorized cars.

Testimonial Injustice

Better inclusion of entire population in EV policies e. Cosmopolitan: Materials, waste flows and foreign manufacturing. Certification programs for materials, make car manufacturers responsible for emissions from EV manufacturing and battery lifecycle waste streams. Recognition: Enhanced vulnerability of those with disabilities, single mothers, the elderly, low-income groups and those living in rural areas. Distributive: Higher bills across the entire gas and electricity system, even for non-adopters. Procedural: Lack of public participation, as well as unjust tactics being used by suppliers to pressure or mislead people into adopting.

Broader stakeholder involvement, mandatory disclosure of supplier information, consumer protection. Cosmopolitan: Waste streams and carbon emissions. Recognition: Negative impacts on working families, those with disabilities, those with mental health concerns, and those in fuel poverty. Improve housing conditions, work with charities to avoid worsening vulnerabilities, coordinate with fuel poverty charities so no homes are stripped of heating after inspections.

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In France, respondents raised a variety of progressive changes that could be made to make nuclear more just. There have been some breakthroughs recently concerning the technical and legal regulations concerning these balcony modules, as we call them. So far you pay the most for the first few kWhs and then less and less and less, invert that.

You have to make some kind of policy. And there were proposals on the table where you had a cheap or free guaranteed minimum electricity usage per person, say kWh per person per year for adults. In Norway, respondents emphasized the need for a more comprehensive transport policy that discouraged driving, encouraged cycling and walking, and sought broad public input. EVs should be an alternative for people who have to use the car, but should not be the main transport system in the city, and to and from cities.

Perhaps this is the best approach, because EVs are so specialized. Governments around the world should demand that car manufacturers recycle batteries. Finally, in Great Britain, respondents highlighted the need for more robust policy mixes and a more holistic approach to energy injustice that went beyond purely technological solutions. Several respondents were particularly enthusiastic about initiatives in the area of housing that aimed at minimizing pre-existing energy vulnerabilities.

These policy options identified by our respondents provide further evidence that there is room for improvement in all of the four low-carbon transitions in providing more open and democratic processes in tandem with ensuring more equitable outcomes. Overall, our analysis reveals that although some of our respondents could not identify any injustices associated with our four low-carbon transitions, we extrapolated distinct injustices on the basis of our interview, focus group, and public internet forum data. This disjuncture could indicate that many of these injustices are "invisible" and can appear hidden at first, which further demonstrates the need for energy justice approaches in analyzing low-carbon transitions.

Taking a simple frequency count, as the top panel of Fig. By case study, injustices were more evenly distributed with smart meters 34 injustices entailing the most, followed by nuclear power 31 injustices , electric vehicles 31 , and solar energy 24 injustices. With this in mind, we offer seven conclusions. First, the distributive energy injustices revealed by our interview data do not just relate to traditional centralized sources of supply such as nuclear power.

We also see legitimate criticisms of community solar, smart meters, and electric vehicles. This implies that distributive injustices may be associated with more decentralized forms of energy at the micro dimensions of generation and consumption. In two of our cases, Norway and Germany, distributive injustices are most striking in how costs were believed by respondents to have been shared across all tax payers despite only a few, higher income groups benefitting.

Such concessions in one sector have also had impacts on other sectors, as illustrated with Norwegian ferry operators reporting losses due to a high number of EVs traveling free on their services. While the costs of the British smart meter roll out are officially the responsibility of the energy and gas suppliers, there are fears that these will eventually be covered by raising consumer bills. Second, the procedural injustices identified serve as a stark reminder that, though some low-carbon technologies may be more distributed and decentralized, they may nonetheless still be governed or managed in essentially undemocratic ways.

For example, the arguably exclusionary nature of the German FIT for solar energy and the supplier-led smart meter roll-out in Great Britain appear to be generating injustices that might have been avoided under different governance approaches or policies. The centralized and secretive nature of state-led policymaking in the case of French nuclear power has meanwhile meant that there has been very limited access from anyone outside the official nuclear elite, resulting in a closed system that maintains the status quo , crowds out alternative energy imaginaries, and silences opponents.

As such, decisions made regarding nuclear power in France are not likely to be based on fair representation and open participation. Therefore, procedural injustices such as lack of transparency with military links prevail in the French nuclear case. Third, the prevalence of cosmopolitan injustices underscored the multi-scalar dimensions of energy injustice. Grimly, in all our cases, there were cosmopolitan injustices related to materials and waste and the impacts their manufacturing may be having across supply chains. In the Norwegian, German, and British cases, injustices such as poor working conditions and child labor linked to cobalt mining or rare earth minerals extraction were connected to the batteries and materials needed for EVs, solar energy, and smart meters.

French nuclear power also has close links with the socio-environmental hazards of uranium mining and milling. Fourth, low-carbon transitions are known to be disruptive and contested, but our analysis shows that this disruptive nature can have profound impacts on certain groups of people. The dimensions related to recognition justice show that transitions can create new vulnerabilities or worsen existing ones, especially among the poor, the rural, those with disabilities, those with mental health concerns, and large families. A real and troubling trend is emerging that low-carbon transitions may be leaving some behind, especially those working within incumbent fossil fuel regimes.

This suggests that research so rigorously identifying and calculating the co-benefits of low-carbon transitions be complemented with that looking at the non-benefits or dis-benefits, as well as their effect on vulnerable groups. Summary of energy injustices by type, case study, and commonality. French nuclear power silencing nuclear critics is an issue of procedural justice that also intersects with recognition concerns about marginalized groups, when those critics represent the interests of the fuel poor or rural communities.

The distributive concerns about the German FIT for solar become entrenched in national policy, making it a procedural concern as well, and when both distribution and procedure exclude vulnerable groups, it aggregates inequalities among sub-groups in ways that impinge on recognition justice. In Norway, the exclusion of public transport users and advocates from policy is a procedural issue, but one that can cement inequalities in distribution as well as the vulnerability of certain groups, a concern of recognition justice. Lastly, the potential for unemployment among meter readers is a distributive concern, but when it may impact particularly vulnerable communities, it becomes a recognition concern.

Seventh, and lastly, is that injustice is not inevitable. Our material led to the identification of at least 16 different policy mechanisms or changes that could address many of the injustices presented here. These mechanisms were merely based on our material, so it is likely that a more concentrated deliberative process would identify many more. Examples of these policies included a national referendum on nuclear power in France that could address many of the procedural injustices associated with secrecy and exclusion.

In Germany, special tariffs and shared ownership models could make solar energy more inclusive for lower-income groups. In Norway, certification programs could better account for hazardous material inputs such as lithium, cobalt, and rare earth minerals. In Great Britain, smart meter installations could be dovetailed with fuel poverty charity programs to ensure that heating systems are not removed from homes without an adequate replacement.

Each of the four low-carbon transitions can thus be better managed and improved so that they become more equal, participatory, environmentally benign, and socially sensitive. In this way, elements of improved procedural justice such as greater participation and democracy become crucial factors in making sure that low-carbon transitions do not simply repeat or replace the injustices of the old system. After all, many of the same actors, economic forces, and rationalities driving low-carbon transitions were benefitting formerly from fossil fuel-led growth.

Whether a transition guides us to a shining apex of energy justice, or dehumanizes us in the murky substrata of inequality and exclusion, is a matter of our own design. The renewable energy surcharge is a fee which has increased the most in German electricity bills since , up from 0. Electricity costs were In , citizens renewables and farmers held a The switch from the feed-in tariff to auctions has meant that large corporate players now are starting to dominate in terms of ownership Morris The content of this deliverable does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union.

Responsibility for the information and views expressed herein lies entirely with the author s. Skip to main content Skip to sections. Advertisement Hide. Download PDF. Decarbonization and its discontents: a critical energy justice perspective on four low-carbon transitions. Open Access. First Online: 21 August Following national case study selection, we proceeded with a qualitative research design that mixed methods across three approaches. We conducted 64 expert interviews in the summer and fall of with a mix of respondents from academia, civil society, industry, and government, summarized in Table 1.

In each interview, we asked among other questions what do you see as some of the most significant injustices or disadvantages to the energy transition being examined? Table 1 Overview of semi-structured expert research interviews, focus groups, and internet forums. Our analysis of the data from expert interviews, focus groups, and internet forums identified injustices in the four energy justice dimensions in all of the four case studies. An overview of the injustices that were identified by our analysis is given in Table 2 , and presented in more detail in sections 4.

Table 2 Overview of energy justice dimensions, definitions, and examples. Our material led to the identification of 57 distinct distributive injustices across the four cases examined Table 3. Table 3 Distributive injustices to low-carbon transitions. Country No. Multiple respondents discussed the exclusionary nature of the FIT for solar, with those owning homes and able to access finance benefitting most, and city dwellers who were renting their homes likely to be left out. As a consequence, most of the solar panels are in suburbia and rural communities.

But they have to cover the cost of the FIT. So, you are locked out of being able to invest, at least within your own premises, but yet you have to pay the cost impact via the grid. Open image in new window. GB stated, for example, that smart meters, homes, and grids are creating a divide between those who adopt smart meters and systems, and those who cannot or do not, but still pay for the supporting infrastructure. They are then not paying as much toward their network charges. So people who are still on the basic system may have to pay more to cover the issue, which is a fairly serious issue.

You have people who are already not using enough energy for their wellbeing continuing to do so. Our respondents suggested there could be as many as 10, of these employees that could lose their jobs if fully digitized and automated smart meters were installed in all homes. Figure 2 shows one such meter reader in London. Our material led to the identification of 13 procedural injustices across the four transitions Table 4. Table 4 Procedural injustices to low-carbon transitions. Our material led to the identification of 18 cosmopolitan injustices, shown in Table 5.

Table 5 Cosmopolitan injustices to low-carbon transitions. Finally, our material identified 33 recognition injustices across the transitions depicted in Table 6. Table 6 Recognition injustices to low-carbon transitions. In some cases, smart meter installations have allegedly even led to the forcible removal of inefficient equipment for safety reasons, leaving the financial and administrative burden of boiler replacement on poor homes or the elderly.

In other cases, smart meters can lead to disconnection and remote disruptions of energy service. Although our first batch of questions focused on problems framed as injustices , the final question focused on solutions, framed as policies to make each of the transitions more just or less unjust. Thus, our material led to a compelling mix of actionable policy implications summarized in Table 7. Fifth, and as the bottom panel of Fig. Whereas the top panel of Fig. Nineteen injustices met this criterion, which we then qualitatively organized into six categories See Table 8 in the Appendix.

The most common category included negative impacts on vulnerable groups, including working families or the elderly having to pay more for electricity or gas via time-of-use rates facilitated by smart meters; or those on low incomes in Germany having to subsidize the social costs of a feed-in tariff for solar energy that they cannot benefit from; or the risk management challenges nuclear waste will impose on future generations in France.

The next three categories—with three injustices each—related to externalities, unemployment, and a burden on taxpayers. For example, our material discussed negative externalities from the French nuclear transition in terms of pollution from uranium mining and milling as well as the risk of a major safety accident; in Norway, the adoption of EVs has led to greater congestion for public transport in around the city of Oslo.

Exacerbating job losses and unemployment were mentioned in France locking out a renewable energy industry , Germany renewables displacing oil, coal, and nuclear power , and Norway petrol and diesel car makers and dealerships losing out. The final two categories of injustices most common across transitions were higher energy prices for everyone, and the erosion of democracy and participation in favor of elitist policymaking, both mentioned for French nuclear power and German solar energy. Andrews N, Nwapi C Bringing the state back in again?

Accessed Barry J, Ellis G Beyond consensus? Agonism, republicanism and a low carbon future. The acceptable ratio of top earnings to bottom earnings can vary from a mean value of The evidence on this aspect is scant, but seems to favor the view that some attributes for which people should not, in principle, be held responsible, such as their natural talents in performing certain tasks are seen as valid entitlements to acquiring larger earnings Konow, In other words, people generally seem to favor a meritocratic view whereby individuals are entitled to reap the benefits from all the attributes of their person, but not those of random events external to their person.

Few studies assess how people react to relative need. In one of these studies, Cappelen et al.

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In particular, willingness to transfer resources by individuals living in rich countries toward individuals living in poor countries is higher than the share of income given as foreign aid. Nonetheless, factors other than needs, such as individual merit, appear to be even more relevant in explaining preferences for redistribution.

Overall, their evidence suggests that perceptions of international justice might differ from perceptions of national justice. Cross-country empirical evidence is still in its infancy; therefore we need more research to check the robustness of the findings here reported. A Science and Technology Studies STS perspective shifts focus from a normative discussion of how justice and equality ought to be conceived to the concrete practices by which they have been achieved.

Attention is directed to how multiple interpretations of in justice and in equality are enacted and become embedded in more or less durable institutional structures, technologies of governance and social norms. These configurations, or sociotechnical assemblages, are comprised of practices, collective norms, shared expectations, theories, laws, accounting techniques, machinery, built environments, rules of ownership and access, IP, market mechanisms, financial instruments, commons management and taxation regimes.

In a world where great inequality persists and many millions of people live in dire poverty it is tempting to focus on all the barriers to the achievement of social justice and well-being. But this will not necessarily contribute to a forward looking endeavor where we are being asked to project onto the future what social science has learnt about how society learns, adapts and transforms. The STS perspective employed here asks what can be learnt by examining the diversity of path dependent processes involved in practically enacting and achieving social justice.

Section 5. It also examines some important mechanisms of state and community governance that have been employed in specific national and regional contexts to monitor or achieve social justice and increased well-being. A feminist perspective on paradigms of justice emerging from Western European thought distinguishes between theories that emphasize justice as freedom, justice as equality, and justice as solidarity Ferguson, Those seeking forms of social justice, including gender justice, have participated in projects informed by all of these theories, but only some have radically transformed specific causes of injustice.

Justice as freedom is conceived within this framework as a neoliberal or libertarian form of justice in which individual and political liberties—including the right to private property—are prioritized over any collective or government control that might jeopardize these liberties. Justice as equality is, as the previous sections have demonstrated, the predominant formulation that has influenced policy making directed at promoting equality in its various guises.

At the global level this form of justice informs development projects by which wealthier nations act on their obligations to poorer nations they have historically harmed Pogge, However, the capacity to equalize opportunity for all by state-led distributions of social surplus is limited by the untouchable nature of privatized wealth protected by the very freedoms espoused by libertarian theories of justice.

Both these ideals of justice and their accompanying practices and policies challenge neither the capitalist economic growth paradigm, nor the operations of the state as an enabling agent of capitalist development. Indeed they work nicely to affirm the key individualizing ideologies that normalize capitalist practice and obfuscate the collective theft of wealth and its concentration in few hands, that is, the manufacture of social injustice.

The extent to which these theories of justice create actually existing social justice and well-being for all classes and categories of people is thus limited, but there are nevertheless situations in which, guided by these theories, processes for creating social justice and well-being for many have worked in historically contingent and path dependent contexts as other sections of the Chapter demonstrate. The final form, justice as solidarity, is informed by a relationality that places the ethical principle of care for the other at the center of justice concerns.

Importantly these practices enable people to develop their human capabilities and to engage in democratic participation in social decisions.

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The redistributive actions involved are not limited to reallocations of social wealth appropriated by the state, but include non-state led interventions that share access and right to the production of wealth and access to basic needs. One entry point into the complexity of path dependency is to look to the ways in which theories of justice with their diverse emphases have interacted with political decision making and technologies of governing to inform social processes that have created well-being and social justice in place.

In Section 5. In spite of the concerns exposed above on the possibility of founding a sound notion of social justice on subjective well-being see section 2. Partly, this interest is due to the popularization of the so-called the Easterlin paradox in economics and of the theory of hedonic adaptation in psychology Kahneman et al. Figures 10a and 10b illustrate the paradox in the case of the US and Japan. The Easterlin paradox points to a disconnect between objective well-being, as proxied by income, and subjective well-being, as measured by survey questions.

The paradox has been confirmed in country-level cross-sections as well. Figure 11 shows the relationship between Gross National Product per capita and aggregate happiness from 65 countries based on the World Values Survey Inglehart and Klingemann We observe a slightly positive association, as indicated by the moderately positive slope. More specifically, we see that the slope which shows the improvement in happiness as a change in national income is greater among low-income countries, and flatter among high-income countries.

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In fact, if we only look at the high-income countries, clustered at the top right-end of the distribution, then the variation in happiness is small indeed. If we draw a horizontal line that cuts across countries, for example from the Philippines to Austria, we can see that happiness is indistinguishable between a low-income country such as the Philippines compared to a high-income country such as Austria. The horizontal line thus suggests that national income does not explain variations in happiness very well.

In other words, Belarus and Brazil are nearly identical in terms of national income, but worlds apart in terms of happiness. We thus arrive at the same conclusion, that objective well-being is not a sound predictor of subjective well-being. That is, individuals derive utility not just from consuming a given good or service but also by consuming it while others cannot. The owner of a luxurious sport car will be normally much happier if she is the only owner of such a car in her neighborhood than when everyone owns an equally valuable sport car in her neighborhood. Social status is by construction a scarce resource, which is eroded as more people get access to the goods conferring social status.

Social status is at its highest when only one individual owns the good. Consumption by additional individuals erode the social status of individuals who already owned the good. At the limit, when everyone owns the good, no social status can be gained. Clearly not all goods have the characteristic of being positional. However, for those goods that are indeed positional, a rather perverse mechanism is set in place. That is, consumption by an additional individual creates a negative externality , that is, a loss in the utility from consuming the good, among previous consumers.

It is precisely such a negative externality that may be the root cause of the Easterlin paradox. In a cross-section of individuals, people with higher income will typically have access to a larger share of positional goods, so their subjective well-being will be higher than poorer individuals who have access to fewer or no positional good.

At the same time, levels of subjective well-being over time will not necessarily grow, precisely because of the negative externality associated with positionality. Even if we consume more, our satisfaction in fact decreases as others also consume more. Many societies, and Western ones in particular, have indeed managed to achieve high levels of generalized consumption. This explains why the levels of subjective well-being cannot have grown linearly with consumption. The fact that levels of subjective well-being have in fact grown so little over time is, according to this account, testament to the idea that a very large portion of our consumption is indeed positional.

Consuming less than others brings about dissatisfaction, but consuming more than others will only bring about a transient increase in satisfaction. Layard and Layard propose to treat consumption as any goods that produce a negative externality on others, like smoking, i. The observation of the little gains in subjective well-being derived from additional consumption also poses some difficult questions to policy-makers convinced that the main target of economic policy should be economic growth.

The evidence from Figure 11 clearly shows that economic growth can be enormously beneficial in the poorest countries, but very little beneficial in the richest ones, to increase individual subjective well-being. This is of course only one component of the set of individual characteristics that policy-makers should care about when making policy decisions. Personal development includes aspects that have been proven to be relevant for people living in rich societies, such as social relationships with others, autonomy and freedom of expression Inglehart and Wetzel, We believe that the studies triggered by the Easterlin Paradox have uncovered a potentially ground-breaking way of conceiving economic and social policy.

It is important to note however that there is some controversy over the Easterlin Paradox. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers used large scale data — primarily but not only from the Gallup World Poll — and show a stronger linear relationship between per capita income and average levels of national happiness.

In a subsequent paper they also show a stronger relationship between economic growth and happiness than Easterlin does. While they claim to de-bunk the paradox, much of the discrepancy is in the questions that are used to measure well-being in the first instance, and in the time frame and sample of countries that are used in the second. The question that is used to measure life satisfaction in the Gallup World Poll is the Cantril ladder question, which asks respondents to think of the best possible life they can imagine and then to place themselves on an 11 step ladder where zero is the worst possible life and 10 is the best.

While most of the correlates of more open-ended life satisfaction questions and the ladder question are very similar, the coefficient on income is stronger at both the individual and country level. This is not surprising as the ladder question introduces a relative frame. Graham, Chattopadhyay, and Picon find that the ladder question correlates much more closely with income within and across countries than does life satisfaction in general and much less so than do hedonic measures of well-being, such as smiling yesterday.

Kahneman and Deaton find similar patterns for the U. And even Stevenson and Wolfers find much less significance in the correlations between life satisfaction and general happiness questions and income in their cross-country and over time work. In exploring the relationship between life satisfaction and growth, Easterlin, meanwhile, uses a longer time frame and different sample of countries than do Stevenson and Wolfers.

He finds no significant relationship between economic growth and life satisfaction over a longer time frame. The state of the art in subjective well-being metrics has advanced significantly in the past decade. While economists in particular were initially very skeptical of data based on expressed versus revealed preferences, there has been a widespread increase in the use of survey data in economic and other analysis. It has, in turn, yielded consistent patterns in the determinants of subjective well-being responses of hundreds of thousands of respondents across countries and over time.

Research across disciplines finds that the responses to these questions correlate with psychological, genetic, and other bio-markers of well-being. There is now broad consensus that the measures are robust and can be tracked across countries and over time see, for example, Helliwell, Layard, and Sachs, , and that the patterns in the determinants of subjective well-being across individuals and countries are remarkably consistent. Income matters within countries, and respondents with means typically score higher than those without sufficient income, but other variables, such as health, employment status, stable partnerships, and political freedom are typically as important Graham, As such, scholars are able to control for the stable patterns and explore the well-being effects of a range of things that vary, such as macro-arrangements and inflation or unemployment rates on the one hand, and individual behaviors such as smoking or exercising on the other.

Some of the most recent research has explored a reverse channel of causality — in other words, what does well-being cause? Early economics research based on panel data found that individuals with higher levels of life satisfaction performed better in later years in the labor market and health arenas Graham, Eggers, and Sukhtankar, This confirmed similar findings by psychologists based on smaller samples but more detailed data Diener et al. The research has developed in more recent years. DeNeve and Oswald used a large U. They used twins and siblings as comparison controls and accounted for factors such as intelligence and health, as well as the human capacity to imagine later socioeconomic outcomes and anticipate the resulting feelings in current well-being.

Ifcher and Zarghamee , based on experimental data, isolate the effects of mild positive affect in reducing time preferences over money and in the ability to delay gratification. DeNeve and co-authors conducted a general review of the existing research on well-being and positive outcomes. They found that there were benefits in the health arena, such as improved cardiovascular health, immune and endocrine systems, lowered risk of heart disease, stroke, infection, healthier behaviors, recovery speed, survival and longevity. In the income and social arenas the studies found increased productivity; peer-rated and financial performance; reduced absenteeism; creativity and cognitive flexibility; cooperation and collaboration; higher income; organizational performance; reduced consumption and increased savings; employment; and reduced risk taking; pro-social behavior altruism, volunteering ; sociability, social relationships, and networks; and , critical to the focus of this chapter, longer-term time preferences and delayed gratification.

And the increasing use of the metrics by government statistical offices in many countries around the world has resulted in a set of best practices for data collection which attempt to avoid biases such as in question framing, day of the week effects, and scaling issues. Are they, for example, smiling or worried, happy or anxious when they are at work, commuting, with family and friends, or in other activities. That allows for much larger scale usage of these metrics than was originally possible. Evaluative metrics correlate more closely with income than do hedonic metrics, not because income is equivalent to happiness or well-being, but because those respondents with more income have more ability to control their lives and to choose the kinds of lives that they want to lead.

Evaluative metrics implicitly include the eudemonic or Aristotelian dimension of well-being, which is the ability to lead a meaningful or purposeful life. Some surveys, such as the well-being module in the British Office of National Statistics annual survey, explicitly include a eudemonic question. The ONS survey asks respondents to assess how much purpose or meaning they have in their lives, on the same scale as the life satisfaction question there-in.

Answers to this question typically correlate closely but not perfectly with life satisfaction responses. Subjective well-being metrics provide a new lens into the question of social justice and well-being and indeed in well-being. Yet when asked more framed evaluative questions, such as the Cantril ladder question, these same respondents will score significantly lower. Along the same lines, very poor respondents with poor norms of health often report to be satisfied with their health, while those with better norms of health and higher expectations have lower scores.

Respondents in Kenya are as satisfied with their health as those in the U. While the subjective scores alone cannot serve as a basis for welfare assessments or policy choices, the gaps between the objective and subjective indicators provide important and often novel insights which can, for example, help explain persistent poverty and injustice traps, including very unequal distributions of well-being within and across societies.

Large differences in expectations for the future, meanwhile, which are closely linked to subjective well-being, can result in beliefs and behaviors channels which contribute to even greater inequality. For example, recent research in the U. A significant percent of the poor are living in the moment, with high levels of stress and other markers of ill-being, and lacking the capacity to plan for or invest in their futures. The gaps in hope and expectations across these two cohorts, makes success seem even less attainable for the poor, adding an additional disincentive to making the necessary investments in education, health, and savings Putnam, ; Graham, , forthcoming.

Such trends are surely not unique to the U. Research from the post-communist or transition economies shed light on the complexities underlying the linkages between political systems and well-being. As illustrated in Figure 11, the transition economies are clustered in the lower left corner and consistently rank among the unhappiest countries in the world. While one may assume that the transition from communism to market capitalism may lead to an improvement in the quality of life and well-being overall, in fact the transition had the opposite effect.

Almost without exception, people in the transition economies — from Eastern Europe to China — report significantly lower life satisfaction after the transition Ono and Lee , forthcoming. Unhappiness in the post-communist countries come from many sources. First is the deterioration of the social safety net. Unsurprisingly, the decline in satisfaction following the transition is most acute in the life domains where support was assured prior to the transition Easterlin For example, in the case of the former German Democratic Republic, the largest drop in satisfaction were in the domains of childcare, work, and health.

In contrast, gains in satisfaction were reported in material consumption, such as goods availability and dwelling. It is further worth noting that the deterioration of the safety net coincided with the timing of improved economic conditions and rising aspirations. Second, there is a deep sense of social injustice and powerlessness among the citizens. People had high expectations that the transition was the path to meritocracy where there would be ample opportunities for advancement based on effort and achievement. Hopes of well-functioning markets were displaced by persistent inequality, widespread corruption and organized crime following the transition.

The post-Soviet economies consistently rank among the most corrupt countries in the European Union according to Transparency International. People feel powerless as they perceive that nothing can be done to overcome these market failures.

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And third, many people of the post-communist countries experienced depreciation or devaluation of the skills that they had acquired prior to the transition Guriev and Zhuravskaya Unfortunately, many who were educated under a command economy acquired skills that became irrelevant, hence valueless, for the market economy. Consequently, many people lost their jobs and were forced to reallocate and to adapt to the new labor market dynamics.

All societies allocate resources, risks and opportunities between men and women, rich and poor, educated and non-educated, children, adults and old people in a differential way. Markets, families, communities and states are the major spheres through which this happens. Markets distribution of wealth, security and opportunities is based on an essentially de-centralized rationale. Individuals decide where and how they use their assets, resources and capabilities. In doing so, they are establishing general parameters of supply, demand and prices.

These parameters will determine future possibilities of making use of the existing opportunity structure given their assets at time two. The principles governing these systems are those of competition through market exchange, and prices carry with them the information that for the most part autonomous self-interested agents will look upon and use to make decisions about the quantities to offer or demand in markets given certain production functions and budget constraints. Individuals who engage in market dynamics do not only or always make choices based on utility maximizing criteria based on their self-interest.

Altruism and a wide array of situations might lead agents to behave otherwise as experiments in behavioral economics and real situation analyses suggest, but to a large extent the dynamics that take place in markets and the exchanges that happen there are assumed to be carried out by men and women pursuing their self-interest. Markets are linked to well-being and social justice in two critical ways. In the first place because markets are one of the central mechanisms by which activities are coordinated, resources are allocated for production and distributed for consumption they affect both the efficiency with which this happens and the shares that people get of total output.

Secondly markets are supposed, in an ideal version, to provide returns to merit and talent through innovation and competition. Individuals also decide their actions in terms of resource pooling, claims on resources, consumption, time and effort allocations in the production of goods, services and care within the family and household. In the case of families this actions cannot be not thought of as only driven by autonomous self-interested agents. That is not to say that such actions are devoid of any self-interested utility maximizing behavior: but there are three important caveats that should warn us against any simplistic translation of market principles and logics into family action and systems.

First actions are bounded by internal authority figures and by shared norms that have nothing to do with fair markets or leveled playing fields. No matter how much we want to argue that such is also the case of markets, the degree to which actions within families depend upon direct norms that contradict explicitly the notion of an autonomous agent. Equating market with family logics is a mistake both theoretically and empirically. Second, there is no such mechanism as prices to carry information in an unequivocal fashion to each member.

Praise, support, the provision or retrenchment of affection and affectionate actions, claims on resources, psychological and physical punishment are many, -not always desirable- ways in which family members provide and receive information regarding their actions and the utility effect of such actions. Third, the actions of individuals in families are dictated by prescriptive norms that affect behavior due to coercion, internalization of what is right. The broader community is another sphere affecting the allocation of resources, opportunity and risk.

Members of a community affect such distribution. Religion is a critical community arena where a lot of what is deemed right or wrong becomes settled and is enforced through varied societal and cultural mechanisms. Communities are places where groups of people or larger organizations produce a sense of self and belonging. Yet to speak of centralized response to natural risks is a simplification. Opportunity and social risk are necessarily products of decentralized agents in the market, families and communities and state action.

Chapter 8 – Social Justice, Well-Being and Economic Organization

The existing dynamics result from parameters institutionally defined by the state and by cultural and religious beliefs rooted in long term incentives and canonic and legal norms. Markets and communities generate aggregated parameters which will become constraints for actions and opportunities later. But they do not make decisions related to the collection and redistribution of resources and the regulation of behavior which are legally binding.

This is the role of the state alone. The state collects resources and redistributes. It regulates acceptable and non-acceptable behavior. It intervenes with incentives in the working of market, families and community Przeworski In other words, the state determines the opportunities and risks as it controls the tax systems, the public expenditures and the laws which regulate interactions among people and groups. The functions of the state have a definite impact on the way in which markets, communities and families either contribute or limit well-being and social justice.

Through the extraction of taxes the state limits the degree to which individuals are entitled to keep resources to themselves and enclose and pool their assets and resources within families and pass them along generations. Indeed a part of the income and wealth generated and accumulated through labor or production and selling that takes place in markets and that is originally received by individuals cannot be consumed or saved by these individuals or pooled within the family because it is taken away by the state.


Secondly: The state also provides individuals and families with income transfers, services and public and merit goods that are critical for the support of the well-being of individuals and families. Family allowances, pensions, education, health care, mobility and urban infrastructure, to name just a few, are resources granted to individuals by and through state policies.

In some cases these resources are granted by the mere fact of residence or citizenship, in other they are dependent on labor market incorporation, in other they are granted because of familial ties and responsibilities. The regulatory capacity of the state is central to think about markets, families and communities.

Policies and legal norms enacted by the state can reinforce any of the micro or macro level functions of markets, families and communities depicted above. States contribute with differential actions to the opportunity and risk production structure. The unprotected old people of the low solidarity models will be protected in the social states where there exists universal coverage of rent and social services for the elderly.

Divorced women who depend economically on their ex-husbands will be more protected if there is state regulation of the economic transfers between ex-partners and if there are support systems for the female headed households. As families, communities and markets change, the distribution, type and quantity of both opportunity and social risks and the devices for social protection change as well.

Since states are part of that production structure they should contribute to shape and answer through regulation, taxation and redistribution. When this does not happen, families, communities and markets undertake adaptive processes and absorb such risks and provide some of the opportunities. To play that role certain conditions must be fulfilled: Families must have available resources and time in addition to stability and cooperation among members.

Communities must have norms of reciprocity and trust anchored in minimal.


Markets must perceive potential profit associated with a given opportunity of risk absorption. The social health of individuals, families and communities is under stress not only by increasing inequality in the distribution of income and wealth, but also by a host of other related features:.

Markets alone cannot and do not solve these problems, nor can families or communities. States and the international global system of states can do much to steer markets and families in the right direction. The textbook concept of ideal competition can mislead the discussion of markets, governance, and social justice. The concept of real competition is inspired by Joseph Schumpeter, who, in his book Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy , coined the phrase Creative Destruction to emphasize how the new competes with the old and eventually replaces the old.

This is the type of contests that is relevant for the feasibility of a more just society. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism. Real competition is dynamic, but it is not only a race to create new products, new technologies, or new work organization where the winner obtains a temporary monopoly position that constitutes the private benefits of innovation.

The distinction between real and ideal competition extends way beyond dynamic technological choices. The real competition takes place also in non-market areas including institutional change, organizational design, in politics and between economic systems. In contrast to the personal incentives, individual solutions and short sightedness of ideal competition, real competition often rewards complementary gains such as cooperation, trust, and long term thinking. Of course, the essence of all competition - real and ideal - is contest and rivalry.

But here the similarity stops. Real competition is about innovation broadly defined. The contest is to be first to do something new where some contestants win and others lose, creating economic inequalities between them. Thus there may be great differences between winners and losers, and often the winners take all. Real competition may therefore require countervailing power to produce good results, and social organizations such as unions can be important to create the complementarity between capitalist dynamics and social security.

A concern for social dynamics must be based on a perception of real competition, not its ideal text book variants, concentrating on the small margins. Real competition is also over discrete choices, great leaps and social and economic systems. Eric Hobsbawm characterizes the period from to , from the first world war to the fall of Communism in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, as the short twentieth century [4]. The fifty years prior to that was a period in which the ideology of socialism spread rapidly in Europe, inspired by the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels The Communist Manifesto Das Kapital, vol.

Marx proposed a theory of historical materialism, which asserted that a mode of production would last as long as it stimulated technology what he called the productive forces to improve. Each mode of production slavery, feudalism, capitalism had, Marx claimed, its progressive period, in which it fostered technological development with concomitant increases in labor productivity. Eventually, however, the property relations that characterize a mode of production e. The mechanism through which this creative destruction of property relations occurs is class struggle.

Thus, feudalism eventually was transformed into capitalism, as a result, so Marx claimed, of serf revolts and the competition from a new merchant class in the towns, and a growing class of independent workers, not bound to feudal manors. In the process bonded serfs became free laborers. Marx and Engels, in their manifesto, argued that the capitalist mode of production was reaching the end of its progressive period, and that it would be toppled and replaced with a system of property relations — socialism — which would foster the further development of technology, labor productivity, and human flourishing.

In , the workers of Paris occupied the city, establishing themselves as the Paris Commune, and attempted to organize Paris on a socialist basis. The Commune lasted a few months, until a massive military assault upon it by the French army succeeded in overthrowing it. The first socialist revolution that succeeded in a whole country was the Bolshevik revolution of October in Russia.

The Soviet Union lasted until , when it peacefully imploded and was replaced by a capitalist regime. Most of the formerly state-owned resources and firms, within a decade, ended up as the private property of a small group of new capitalist oligarchs, in a property grab organized by Boris Yeltsin, that puts the nineteenth century American robber barons to shame. Of course, China remains a huge country that has found a formula for escaping the economic sclerosis that characterized the eastern European and Soviet economies.

But certainly, with the possible exception of China, capitalism appears to be the only option on offer. Although economic inequality is extreme in the advanced capitalist countries in the west, and in the developing capitalist economies in the rest of the world, the present period is markedly different from no Karl Marx has emerged with an inspiring and radical vision of transforming capitalism into a system more effective at meeting human needs.

Do, that is to say, the relatively high living standards of most people in these countries, depend upon a system of economic organization that rewards those at the very top so lavishly? Those lavish rewards would perhaps be tolerable if those who receive them were in other ways ordinary citizens. But they are not. With wealth comes power and political influence.

Families with this kind of wealth will spend considerable resources to prevent democratic movements from confiscating their wealth through taxation. They will attempt to influence the state to protect their privileges. One can ask whether a de jure democracy can possibly be a de facto democracy if the wealthiest one-thousandth of the population own almost one quarter of the total wealth of the country. An important qualification to this perhaps pessimistic evaluation should be made. While capitalism continues to distribute income and wealth in highly unequal way, there are major differences between advanced capitalism today and its predecessors a century ago.

These tax revenues are spent on universally distributed private goods such as education, health care and child care and on public goods. That is to say, the welfare state has grown immensely in the twentieth century in the OECD countries, and this has massively improved the lives of citizens.