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Capitalism and Justice: Envisioning Social and Economic Fairness

John Isbister
Capitalism and Justice: Envisioning Social and Economic Fairness
ISBN: 978-1-56549-122-9
2001/255 pages/LC: 00–46222
A Kumarian Press Book
"In this gem of a book, John Isbister tackles the basic dilemmas of social justice that face today's capitalist world. His analysis throughout is intelligent, insightful, and exceptionally well-informed, and though provocative, his proposals are refreshingly levelheaded. I recommend it strongly to anyone who cares about justice."—William H. Shaw, San Jose Sate University

"John Isbister directly confronts some of the most pressing ethical issues of our time. He pursues these issues with clear thinking, clear prose, and a refreshingly humanistic sensibility.... thought-provoking and deeply impressive."—Frederick Stirton Weaver, Hampshire College

"While accepting [the] basic framework of capitalism, Isbister shows that fundamental change is both possible and desirable. This is a wide-ranging, lucid, and highly accessible work that should help to revive the debate about what economic justice requires."—Joseph H. Carens, University of Toronto

"John Isbister dares to imagine taming capitalism in the name of equality and fairness. He takes on the biggest of questions, to build an eloquent and desperately important argument for placing social justice and environmental health before the logic of profit. We are all in his debt."—Dana Frank, University of California, Santa Cruz


In Capitalism and Justice, John Isbister takes a practical approach to some of the most important questions of economic and social justice in the context of the global economy: How big a spread of incomes from rich to poor, for example, is consistent with social justice? Should inheritances be abolished? What sort of commitment should a rich country like the United States make to foreign aid? Isbister challenges the reader to think creatively about the meaning of justice and how it works towards social and economic fairness withing the boundaries of capitalism.


John Isbister is professor of economics at Ryerson University.


  • Justice.
  • Capitalism.
  • National Dilemmas.
  • Income Distribution.
  • Taxation of Income.
  • Taxation of Wealth and Inheritances.
  • Welfare.
  • Affirmative Action.
  • International Dilemmas.
  • Globalization.
  • The Boundaries of Justice.
  • Foreign Aid.
  • Immigration.
  • Environment.