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Monday, 9 February 2015


Nobody is against Justice. Indeed, most of us would maintain that Justice is the foundation of Morality. The Hebrews taught that God is just. Plato tells us that Socrates spoke at length about Justice.

The Christian concept of Justice is that every man should be accorded his deserts. Bad deeds deserve punishment; good deeds deserve reward. Christians believe that perfect Justice is not attainable in this world – certainly not by the efforts of humans. The Christian concept of Justice is the same as the Hebraic. It is bleak. We all do evil; therefore we all deserve punishment. Unlike all other religions, Christianity teaches that, although God is all-just, He is also all-merciful – so much so that He Himself paid the price, suffered the punishment for our sins. It is the Ultimate Free Lunch; all we have to do is to say, yes please.

We Free Marketeers believe that Capitalism is based on Justice. What is mine is mine and I cannot be dispossessed of it. I am free to exchange what is mine for what is yours, provided that we both freely agree. That’s it! If I acquire capital, by saving, by borrowing or by inheritance, I am free to mix in my ingenuity and labour, and thereby make a profit – if I am lucky. If I need more labour than my arms, legs and brain can supply, I am free to engage with you to supply me with yours, provided that we agree the price, your wages. This is the only way prices and wages can be determined. Von Mises explains that the information supplied by prices is missing in a socialist economy. Such economies are therefore not able to supply the wants of society. There are gluts, or, more likely, shortages. Capitalism is simple, efficient and just. Socialism is tortuous, inefficient and unjust. Soviet economists subscribed to Sears Roebuck. They had no mechanism for determining prices for themselves

Free Marketeers are very likely to be Libertarians, who believe that the one societal rule is that it is wrong to initiate violence against another. Many free marketeers often also feel an obligation to alleviate ignorance and suffering when they can. Indeed, we are commanded to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

Socialism is based on violence. All are dispossessed by the state by dint of the threat of violence.  In a so-called mixed economy the state allows us to keep some of our own property. The horror of ‘progressive’ taxation is not that the rich pay more but that they pay disproportionately more. There is not even a scintilla of moral justification for this. A tragic side-effect is that the rich are actively discouraged from contributing to charity, although many do any way.

We have, of late, invented a plethora of new flavours of Justice: most notably ‘Social Justice’ and even, absurdly, ‘Climate Justice’. How long do you have to reflect before coming to the conclusion that these are completely bogus ideas? Everything that needs to be said about Justice in society is said by ‘Justice’. Justice is about deserts – rewards and punishments, good and evil. “If a man will not work, he shall not eat”, says St Paul – this is Justice. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”, says Karl Marx. This is definitionally unjust. It sounds OK; but it imposes an obligation on everyone else – backed up by the threat of violence.

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