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PHIL 354 Economic Justice: Who Gets What and Why?

Does the fact that some in the world have more than they need in order to live and others have too little to survive show that the world is unjust? Do people in affluent countries have a moral obligation to help those in impoverished countries? Should material well-being be more equally distributed in a just world? Should people who contribute more get more? Do smart people, beautiful people, and hard-working people deserve to get more than those who are less so? Should the world's bounty be seen as belonging to all equally? These and other questions regarding the controversial issue of economic justice will be addressed through a variety of philosophical materials.
4 Undergraduate credits

Effective August 15, 2009 to present

Meets graduation requirements for

Learning outcomes


  • Apply, at an advanced collegiate level, the resulting understandings to an analysis of the moral dilemmas inevitably facing all members of the global community, from multinational corporate executives to individual citizens concerned to contribute to the shaping of a just world community.
  • Assess case studies, employing various accounts developed in the course, to focus on issues such as whether the world's bounty belong to all equally, whether people who contribute more should receive more, whether hard work merits extra material reward, and so on.
  • Compare and contrast major moral theories and theories of justice.
  • Focus most acutely on the centrality of justification for claims made in these accounts.
  • Use the work of the course to reflect on personal beliefs and attitudes about these central issues, and to construct ways, as a citizen involved with the global community, to act on those beliefs.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 6: The Humanities and Fine Arts

  • Demonstrate awareness of the scope and variety of works in the arts and humanities.
  • Understand those works as expressions of individual and human values within a historical and social context.
  • Respond critically to works in the arts and humanities.
  • Engage in the creative process or interpretive performance.
  • Articulate an informed personal reaction to works in the arts and humanities.