Social Justice, Public Goods and Rent-Seeking in Narratives

10 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2018

See all articles by Vincent Geloso

Vincent Geloso

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Phillip Magness

Independent Institute

Date Written: December 8, 2018


Social justice, as a concept, has long been considered inimical to the classical liberal tradition (Hayek 1976; Nozick 1973; 1974). To be fair, there is much to criticize about the concept. The definitional fluidity of the term, along with its frequent deployment for “activist” political endeavors, cast doubt upon the scholarly rigor of the term (Hayek 1978). However, where there is chaff, there is wheat and thus the possibility of salvaging some parts of the social justice concept to serve both normative and positive ends (Tomasi 2012, xvii-xx). Sorting the wheat from the chaff is the aim of this paper. To do so, we introduce the concept of “rent-seeking in narratives,” which, as we argue, takes the best concepts from the literature on social justice in order to make it a relevant tool for social science and classical liberal thought.

Keywords: social justice, relational equality, open access order, rent-seeking

Suggested Citation

Geloso, Vincent and Magness, Phillip, Social Justice, Public Goods and Rent-Seeking in Narratives (December 8, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Vincent Geloso (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Phillip Magness

Independent Institute ( email )

100 Swan Way
Oakland, CA 94621
United States

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