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Just Health (Care): Social Justice, Health and the Common Good


  • Erk, Christian


The answer to the question of how to deal with the widening gap between the growing costs of health (care) and necessarily limited health (care) resources in a just fashion, heavily depends on what we take the term ‘just’, to signify. This article is meant to offer a perspective on the topic of just health (care) which takes the idea of justice as virtue seriously by embedding it in the context of its original explication, namely an onto-teleological philosophy which takes (social) justice to be about claim-rights (as well as their corresponding duties) and the common good. This article is, however, not meant to provide ready-made answers or a discussion of the arguments featuring in the contemporary debate about health (care) prioritisation and/or rationing. It rather takes up the cudgels on behalf of the concept of the common good and reminds us of the fact that if we want to talk about (social) justice and just health (care) we cannot do so without also talking about the common good.

Suggested Citation

  • Erk, Christian, 2012. "Just Health (Care): Social Justice, Health and the Common Good," Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Unternehmensethik - Journal for Business, Economics & Ethics, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 13(1), pages 31-49.
  • Handle: RePEc:rai:ethics:doi_10.1688/1862-0043_zfwu_2012_01_erk

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    Justice; Virtue; Social Justice; Health; Common Good; Rights; Duties;

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality


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