Resources versus capabilities: a critical discussion
AbstractThis paper discusses the concept of "resourcism'" as an alternative to the capability approach. It argues that the term economic resources covers too many different concepts for the term "resourcism" to be useful when analysing distributional justice. In particular, the "resourcism" of Dworkin is radically different from that of Rawls, because resources in Dworkin's usage are not the same as Rawls's "income and wealth". The term "economic goods" is proposed as a more precise term than resources. Furthermore, it is argued that, since all theories of distributional justice concern the distribution of economic goods, they are all in some sense "resourcist." The paper then discusses in the concept of resourcism defined by Thomas Pogge (2004), and concludes that his concept of resourcism is not logically consistent. Pogge also maintains that the just distribution of economic goods should take into account only standard human needs. The paper argues that taking natural human diversity into account is both possible and desirable as far as valuable human functionings are concerned, and that Pogge's criticism of the capability approach in this respect therefore is unfounded. Finally, it is argued that the relation between capabilities and access to economic goods merits investigation.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Oslo University, Department of Economics in its series Memorandum with number 08/2006.
Length: 16 pages
Date of creation: 15 Apr 2006
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Economics, University of Oslo, P.O Box 1095 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway
Phone: 22 85 51 27
Fax: 22 85 50 35
Web page: http://www.oekonomi.uio.no/indexe.html
More information through EDIRC
resourcism; capability approach; distributional justice; Dworkin; Rawl; economic goods;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
- I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare and Poverty - - - General Welfare
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Sen, Amartya, 1983. "Poor, Relatively Speaking," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 153-69, July.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Rhiana Bergh-Seeley).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.