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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 44, 2019

Elizabeth C. Hupfer
Pages 273-292

Distributing Welfare and Resources
A Multi-Currency View

Should theories of distribution focus solely on subjective welfare or solely on objective resources? While both of these ‘currencies’ have well-known objections that make each of them implausible alone, I argue that neither currency should be jettisoned entirely. Instead, I construct a multi-currency distributive theory involving both welfare and resources. While I think that such a heterogeneous theory is able to mitigate objections to both pure resourcism and pure welfarism, it also creates a new concern, which I call the precedence concern, in which a theorist must determine which currency takes precedence in a given situation. I argue that to answer the precedence concern, altering the currency should result in altering the site of distribution as well. As a result, moral value between individuals should be measured in terms of welfare while state justice should be measured in terms of resources.

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