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Although Plato did not explicitly propose any principle of distributive justice, he indicated that justice involves both the doing and the having of one's own. On the interpretation I am proposing: (i) 'having one's own' refers directly to the compensation one receives for doing one's own; (ii) the principle of distribution of benefits that is actually operative in Plato's system is that any form of compensation must be such that the worker (whether ruler, soldier or producer) has his needs satisfied. I also highlight how Plato's account does not quite fit any contemporary conceptual framework--either utilitarian or desert-based. But it encourages us to reflect on the moral aspects of economic interactions of exchange, resulting from a fundamental collective choice to associate in order to satisfy individual needs, broadly understood as what human beings need to flourish in their social life.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: agreco@yorku.ca

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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