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Department of Philosophy Colloquium: Peter Diestch

Thursday, November 7, 2019
4:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Watson Hall
Room: 517
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The Department of Philosophy Colloquium Series presents

Peter Diestch
Université de Montréal

Just returns from capitalist production

Thursday, November 7, 2019

4:00 pm

Watson Hall, Room 517

What explains and justifies the shares of output that workers and capital owners receive? Arguably, neither economic theory nor theories of distributive justice provide a satisfactory account of these factor shares.

This paper argues, first, that when taking seriously the increasing returns from specialisation ignored by most positive and normative accounts, a large part of economic production should be viewed as cooperative surplus rather than as a return to labour or capital. The paper acknowledges the difficulties in measuring this surplus with precision. Yet, its analysis of the logic of specialisation of labour and capital is sufficient to approximate the extent to which individual factors of production are overcompensated under the conventional theoretical framework and in economic practice. Second, the paper highlights the normative discretion society has in distributing the surplus. Three potential distributions are discussed and defended against the objection that they conflict with economic efficiency.


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