Volume 36, Issue 1, Spring 2022
Trolley Problem Applied
Compensation for Covid Restrictions
Even a dog can tell if he was tripped over or kicked. Would entrepreneurs know? To slow down the progress of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, many states have taken restrictive measures, including the closing of private businesses. Are entrepreneurs therefore entitled to compensation? The answer is not obvious. In this paper, I suggest a solution which follows from a si mple test inspired by the famous trolley dilemma, asking whether the state used entrepreneurs as instruments (means) to slow down the pandemic. I argue that entrepreneurs were not “used” that way, which is why they possess no moral claim to compensation for the harm caused by the closure. However, I do argue for at least a moral claim of theirs to satisfaction. For the possible disruption of their relationship with other citizens, rather than for the monetary damage they were forced to bear.