Main Article Content
In the book V of Ethica nicomachea, in the context of the discourse on “distributive justice” (a subsystem of “justice in general” or “political justice”, essentially consisting in the respect for the law), Aristotle addresses the question of the fair distribution of social assets such as power functions, prestige positions, public wealth. The democratic deception of a perfectly egalitarian distribution must be avoided as it does not correspond to the real social hierarchies of class and merit, and also to the greed (pleonexia) that distinguishes the oligarchic regimes: both classlessness and greed are seeds of social conflicts. Aristotle therefore proposes a concept of “proportional” equity, a kind of fairness with variable geometry in the distribution of social goods, which is able to take into account the real differences among members of the political community, while not allowing the powerful to abuse their power. Aristotle then extends this concept of “proportional” equity to apparently strange areas, such as trade and “corrective justice”, namely the provision of penalties for crimes affecting the harmony of the community.
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