1 DEFINING THE PRINCIPLE OF DESERT

Mill, Miller

I. Introduction

This chapter is the first in a series that analyses the moral foundations of the ideal of compensatory justice. In my exploration of the question of whether or not compensatory justice is a fair and feasible ideal, I wish to deal initially with the fairness component of that question. If I am to successfully show that compensatory justice is a defensible ideal I must show which principles lie behind it and that those principles are just. I claim in these chapters that compensatory justice is best defended by the principles of desert (preinstitutional) and equality (of opportunity). The purpose of this particular chapter is to clarify what I mean by the term “desert” as it used in my defense of the fairness of the ideal of compensatory justice. Successive chapters will explain what I mean by equality of opportunity and argue that both desert and equality of opportunity are just.

(The notion of compensatory justice is deeply and extensively rooted in common-world views. For example, most people have an opinion on whether nurses get paid enough and whether MPs are paid too much. The same goes for teachers, rural GPs, bus drivers, CEOs and so on. On the face of it, it seems a large part of people’s everyday ethical considerations on matters of pay revolve around the concept of desert. The most crucial question on people’s minds is what do people deserve to be paid, not what does the

2 marketplace dictate or what can the government afford. However, the notion of desert is absent from most political agendas in employment today. Instead there is a dominance of concepts such as efficiency, utility and equality.

In saying that, desert is currently enjoying something of a resurgence in political philosophy. This is partly because of a move within egalitarianism toward a responsibility-sensitive form of distribution.1 Compensatory justice seems to fit with a conception of desert as justice because it distributes on the basis of people’s choices and efforts. However, desert is not a clear and unified concept. There are various ways to conceive desert and just as many ways of valuing it. Not all theories of desert will support compensatory justice, but it is likely that some will. In this chapter I will explore the concept of desert and narrow it down to a conception that seems to support the ideal of compensatory justice. )

Section II introduces the principle of desert in a broad sense, showing what distinguishes a desert principle from other kinds of principles and also pointing out the many complications in defining desert. Section III explains the difference between deontic and telic desert and shows why telic desert is not a good suitor for compensatory justice. I then mention the possibility of a theory of justice based only on desert in section IV and suggest this kind of radical use of desert has unattractive consequences. Having set out the brand of desert I wish to defend as being deontic and non-radical I move on to discuss two types of desert in section V; these two types are known as ecumenical desert and selective desert. Section VI explains the popular concept of moral desert and section VII
1

Serena Olsaretti, Desert and Justice. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2003, p.2.

A being the treatment they should receive. Finally. or to equalise well-being. Good people should be rewarded. not objects or other animals. or any other broad aim. many things must be considered. but rather for the proper treatment of meritorious or unmeritorious individuals. the justification for treating a person nicely or cruelly. it is in fact vastly complicated. Section VIII then looks at what kind of desert can be used as a defense of compensatory justice looking back at all the various types of desert expounded in previous sections. bad people should be punished. 2 I use the term “desert” to denote personal desert i. An outcome rendered by desert is not for the greater good. The basic structure of desert is “X deserves A in virtue of B”. in examining the role desert plays in the concept of compensatory justice. section IX sums up this chapter’s findings. The nature of B is what sets desert apart as a distinct moral concept. . must be something attributable to her. and B being the characteristic or behaviour that justifies the treatment of the deserving person. desert which applies to persons. This is because B. (II.3 explicates the difference between institutional and pre-institutional desert. As such. X being the deserving person.e. While desert may seem a simple and straightforward concept. Desert Desert2 is the notion that people should be treated on the basis of their characteristics or behaviour.

8. ceteris paribus.4 I neither wish nor need to consider the plausibility of telic desert as it is neither contrary to. Justine might deserve three lollipops. p.3 Telic desert is the kind which says an innocent boy with terminal cancer deserved the good weather he enjoyed in his final days. then. a black man should be found guilty of 3 4 Olsaretti. Ibid. So. or it will make her little brother Dylan upset. if X deserves A in virtue of B. as opposed to what ought to be. not a conclusive reason in and of itself. p. that is. X ought to get A. Such theories can be deemed telic in the sense that they place judgement on things that are.4 III. 5 Ibid. It is also widely held that desert is one reason among several possible reasons to give someone something. nor incompatible with. Or.5 This means that desert claims are generally claims about what people ought to receive. I am considering compensatory justice in a deontic rather than telic sense. those that do not consider desert claims to place obligations on others. and so only a deontic conception of desert will either lend itself in support or not.8. Desert and Justice. but she should not be given three lollipops because it will spoil her dinner. Deontic desert versus telic desert Firstly I would like to set aside versions of desert that attach no moral force to desert claims.4. to use a more serious example. p. . compensatory justice. Deontic desert is the most common conception amongst desert theorists.

Ethics. as so many primary goods do not seem to be appropriate as objects of desert.7 For instance. or better education opportunities. 1973. which regards desert as the only principle that should be considered in matters of distributive justice. no. and the township’s belief that a black man committed the offence. 7 See Robert Young. IV. In this case utility concerns provide a reason to convict the black man anyway. Punishment and Desert. because letting him go free would almost certainly lead to town-wide attacks on many more innocent black people and general violence between whites and blacks because of the impulsively malevolent and racist attitude of the white population.67.5 raping a white woman even though he has been proven innocent in order to avoid race riots. The black man stands trial but is not proven guilty. p. or more civil liberties than the more vicious.6 In these cases it is a concern for utility that trumps considerations of desert. 102. 2. Radical desert There are however those who hold what Robert Young calls the radical view of desert. 1992. The example involves the rape of a white woman. ‘Egalitarianism and Personal Desert’. . This view is considered to be problematic. Kleinig explains that there might be potential reasons for convicting an innocent black man in a racist American township in order to aid the greater good. One could say for example that every person deserves equal political influence in virtue of the fact they are part of a society. Martinus Nijhoff. This kind of approach means that desert is generally considered as a part of a pluralistic moral view. but this would stretch the concept of desert so far as to 6 This example is from John Kleinig. In this example. it would seem unjust if virtuous people were to get more votes than other people. v. The Hague. It probably is possible to shift one’s definition of desert in such a way as to justify things like political equality.

and those who believe only certain kinds of things can be used to qualify desert. pp. This raises the issue of what sort of things. possible desert bases on this view are things like exceptional performance (the fastest runner deserves to win the race). can we base desert on? V.5-6. and suffering a harm (the victim deserves compensation for his ordeal). Desert and Justice. Kleinig and Sher. seem to draw from the common usage of the term “deserve” in classifying different kinds of desert bases. The idea of the varied nature of desert bases on the ecumenical view is encapsulated by Robert Young: Whether someone deserves to win the World Chess Championship will be determined by utterly different considerations from those that are relevant to whether someone deserves to be given life imprisonment.6 render it meaningless. and utterly different again from whether someone deserves to be awarded 8 Olsaretti. Ecumenical conceptions of desert such as that of Feinberg.8 Olsaretti calls the first group ecumenical and the second group selective. So. achievement (students who write excellent essay answers deserve pass the exam). and how many different things. . vicious acts (murderers deserve to be punished). virtuous acts (a charitable donation deserves praise). Ecumenical desert versus selective desert Serena Olsaretti categorises desert theorists into two groups: those who believe there are lots of different things one may base desert on.

having been distinguished according to the large number of very different things that may form bases for claims about desert.5. p.6. v. making it ecumenical. what grounds individuals are deserving on will depend on what purpose or goal the institution which provides the deserved good has or promotes. 11 Ibid. 1992. Institutional desert therefore incidentally holds that anything an institution aims to achieve can provide a desert basis.10 The institutional view takes desert bases to be only those set out by institutions.7 compensatory damages for injuries sustained as a consequence of medical negligence.11 The ecumenical view. p. ‘Egalitarianism and Personal Desert’. 102. Desert and Justice. For example.9 Olsaretti also puts the institutional view of desert in the ecumenical camp. 12 Ibid. is subject to one key objection: how can desert be a meaningful moral construct if it encompasses so many things which are so distinctive from one another?12 What can it mean to say Jean deserves the golf prize and Saddam deserves to be hung other than that Jean and Saddam should get these things? What exactly is desert if it can warrant such varied treatments for such vastly different behaviours? 9 Robert Young.320. Ethics.6. 10 . since the purpose of a running race is to reward the best runner. p. p. no. There are then as many desert bases as there are goals which institutions pursue. As Olsaretti explains: On this view. efficient allocating of resources is the basis on which entrepreneurs are said to deserve their profits. and the best runner is thought to be the one who runs fastest. 2. and since the goal of the market is that of meeting wants of consumers by allocating rights over scarce resources. Olsaretti. performance is the relevant desert basis here.

The most prevalent selective view of desert is that which takes desert to only apply to morally appraisable personal characteristics (actions. 2003. p. VI. this means that things which are either not appraisable or not accountable to the agent are not – according to this view – grounds for desert. In response to the broadness of the ecumenical view. a hard worker deserves fair pay. Oxford University Press.14 A further concern is what follows from judgements of moral desert. for example. such as either 13 14 Ibid. . Olsaretti (ed.g. a murderer deserves to suffer blame from her community. etcetera). Moral desert Moral desert is in itself a divided concept because what counts as morally appraisable differs from theorist to theorist. Moral desert judges individuals only in the sense that they are moral agents. For example. Desert and Justice. E. Richard Arneson.8 Presumably those who ask such questions take them to be unanswerable (or at least very difficult to answer) since they prefer to limit the range of things which desert may be applied to. motives. Some theorists believe moral desert only warrants soft treatment. the question of how to attribute moral responsibility to agents yields various responses that reach far back into debates over determinism and free will. the selective view takes there to be a common thread to the things which are eligible for desert bases.13 So-called ‘moral desert’ focuses on things like effort and harm as potential bases for desert.).6. Oxford. ‘The Smart Theory of Responsibility’ in S.

in terms of deserving things. So while it may be seen as more useful and meaningful than ecumenical views which encompass a variety of desert bases. Kagan. Oxford University Press.P. and indeed important. Pojman and O. Institutional desert is the idea that people can only deserve things based on the promises and goals of institutions. What do we Deserve? A Reader on Justice and Desert. 1989. New York.158-9. McLeod (eds. type of desert. there is no single model of it that everyone ascribes to. ‘Equality and Desert’ in L. ‘Distributive Justice and Economic Desert’ in S. 1999. 16 E. This means it limits what counts as a basis for desert to certain kinds of deeds. there are many other bases people are commonly referred to that exist outside the realm of moral desert. Oxford University Press.g. Theoretical Foundations of Market Socialism.) Desert and Justice.15 while others think moral desert should go further and influence the distribution of goods.). Samuel Scheffler. Olsaretti (ed. . Market State and Community. 1) Christopher Robin Milne deserves a portion of the millions of dollars Disney makes off 15 E. Oxford. 2003. Clarendon Press.9 praise or blame. Despite its general acceptance as one kind of desert. the selective view faces the objection that. valuing moral desert and only moral desert is still a selective form of desert. So why limit it at all?17 VII. Consider two claims. 17 David Miller.16 So while most desert theorists recognize moral desert as a legitimate.g. Institutional desert versus pre-institutional desert Another fundamental distinction concerning types of desert exists between institutional and pre-institutional desert. Oxford. pp.

it was simply endowed upon him by luck. Christopher Robin is said to not deserve his Pooh money because he has not earned it through effort or choice or dedication or anything else. Another example of pre-institutional desert is a fraudster deserving blame for his deception. The first desert claim is institutional. In the second case. or a hard worker deserving a coffee break for her efforts. In the first. Christopher Robin is said to deserve the money because there exist institutions which grant him royalties. and 2) Christopher Robin Milne does not deserve a portion of the millions of dollars Disney makes off of his Father’s character Winnie the Pooh because he did nothing to earn the money. also known as raw or natural desert. because they are conceptually tied to institutions. Such claims could be used to criticise or create institutions (like mandatory breaks for workers) because they are conceptually independent of them. If such institutions did not exist. Pre-institutional desert.10 of his father’s character Winnie the Pooh because the legal system provides wills and intellectual property rights which enable Christopher Robin Milne to own the rights to his father’s character and sell them to Disney. so it is incoherent to use these claims to inform institutions since they were created by the institutions and would not exist without them. . Christopher Robin would neither deserve nor not deserve the money he gets from the Pooh Bear brand. This claim appeals to pre-institutional desert. is the more intuitive concept that people should get certain things because of facts about themselves. it is the rules and practices of the institution that forms the basis of people deserving things. the second is pre-institutional. Institutional desert claims on the other hand could not be.

For example. for example. Essays in the Theory of Responsibility. Princeton University Press. Joel Feinberg. most believe it is of fundamental importance to differentiate between them. one must be qualified in still a third sense: one must satisfy certain conditions of worthiness which are written down in no legal or official regulation. I think it clear that qualification in neither of these senses is the same as desert. There are millions of persons eligible to be president who do not deserve to be.19 So going back to our earlier example. if we agree with Kleinig and Feinberg. Eligibility is one kind of qualification: satisfaction of some important preliminary necessary condition. in this sense a man qualifies for the presidency of the United States by winning a majority of the electoral votes… Anyone who qualifies in this strong sense can claim the office… as his right. according to the rules he is entitled to it. Another kind of qualification. . Princeton. one must be thirtyfive or older and a “natural born” citizen. To deserve something. p. is satisfaction of a sufficient condition…. and it is often plausible and always intelligible to say that a man in fact elected president did not deserve to be. we could claim that Christopher Robin is entitled to the royalties from Disney but not deserving (or 18 19 Kleinig. Instead.64. p57. in response to Brian Barry’s illustration of institutional desert (where he deserves £50 because he has climbed a rock and a £50 prize was offered for climbing the rock) John Kleinig states that this kind of desert ‘…is not a sense of ‘desert’ at all. So.11 Unsurprisingly then.’18 Entitlement is closely linked to the concept of desert. desert theorists adopt the pre-institutional view and generally take institutional desert to not be a type of desert at all. ‘Justice and Personal Desert’ in his Doing and Deserving. and while some theorists like Barry are comfortable intermingling the two. what… Barry [has] given us is an analysis of ‘entitlement’…and desert is not a kind of entitlement. equally rule-connected. Take Feinberg’s now well-known example of a presidential candidate: To be eligible for the presidency of the united States. 1970.

The first is that which we have been discussing. Take the institution of the will for example. A. albeit a limited one. in advising the design of institutions. are intended to grant the wishes of the deceased in terms of the allocation of their property. A. Milne wanted. Milne actually wanted the rights to Pooh to be given to me. The other kind of institutional desert considers more than rules. A. If. But even with this distinction between desert and entitlement made clear. So if A. but in fact Christopher Robin was named in the will as the intended recipient (say he swindled his way in somehow) then the goal of the institution in question would not be achieved and Christopher Robin would not deserve his inheritance according to goal-based desert. Wills. the rights to Pooh to go to his son Christopher Robin. When the deceased’s wishes are granted.A. the goal of the institution is not achieved. the goal of the institution of a will is achieved. Olsaretti distinguishes two kinds of institutional desert. Goal-based institutional desert looks at the intended goal of institutions in judging matters of desert. When the wishes of the deceased are not enshrined in their wills. there is more of the concept of institutional desert to consider. To use the case where I am really the one A. Christopher Robin (according to goal-based institutional desert) deserves the rights to Pooh. in principle. Milne wanted to give the . since it is more than a simple re-labeling of entitlement. in the event of his death. it also considers the goals of the institutions involved.12 undeserving for that matter) merely on the grounds that he has a legal right to them given the rules and practices surrounding intellectual property and wills. on the other hand. Olsaretti calls this rule-based institutional desert. This kind of institutional desert then does in fact differentiate between desert and entitlement and can play a role. as it only considers the rules of the institutions in question.

we could say that I deserve the rights but Christopher Robin is entitled to them. I should point out however that those who do believe desert has a role in distributive justice are not unconcerned or uninterested in the role institutions play in desert claims. Rawls’ view of desert fits into the goal-oriented category but goes one better.13 rights to Pooh Bear to. Ibid. . This is often. p.10. it is the promotion of these through institutions which makes people deserving when they receive some benefit (or burden) as a result of the rules and practices of institutions. Defenders of pre-institutional desert can recognize that most desert claims are made in the context of given institutions and that some elements of those claims. will be institutionally determined. As Olsaretti states: … Those who hold the view that there is a notion of pre-institutional desert do not suggest that desert and institutions are unrelated.11. as desert is regularly shunned as a principle of justice. remains reasonably weak in terms of the moral force it has on influencing outcomes. and all goal-based views of institutional desert. So here there is a “desert-entitlement gap”20 because the goals of the institution were not achieved and a goal-based institutional desert theorist could recommend restructuring the institution of the will to ensure its goals are better met. This. a deliberate attempt to put desert in its place. So once the just goals of institutions are decided upon. as in the case of Rawls. and just how much of it will be appropriate. Rawls claims that it is not the goals of simply any old institution that may confer desert. while being more useful than rule-based versions. p. such as just what form the reward should take.21 20 21 Olsaretti. but only ideal. just institutions. as his name ended up in the will and mine did not. Desert and Justice.

I believe only a deontic form of desert will lend itself in defense of compensatory justice. since telic desert can judge things that have occurred naturally and deontic desert can not. a conception of desert that supports compensatory justice should be deontic rather than telic. All in all. In this sense. we can now get to our second task which is to see what kind of desert. unlike cancer or rainy days – which are natural occurrences. if any. The appointment of people to occupations is an artificial human construct.) VIII. Redistribution of wealth is deontic rather than telic because deontic morality implies that what ought to be is what can be. Which brand of desert supports compensatory justice? Firstly. and redistribution of wealth is useful only if it is possible to be achieved. This is because a telic view seems ill-fitted with the idea principle that people should be compensated for labour burden.14 Now that we know about the various types of desert and the surrounding debates. defends compensatory justice. Compensatory justice is concerned with installing justice into outcomes created by social practices – by this I mean that it is the labour market which compensatory justice turns its attention to and the labour market is a social practice. So we shall go on using a deontic . Furthermore. compensatory justice is an ideal which suggests that goods should be redistributed. compensatory justice has nothing to say about states of affairs in terms of their justness or unjustness unless they relate to wage differentials that can be changed. as I mentioned earlier.

A pluralistic view that uses desert as a principle of justice requires a non-conclusive version of desert. we need not presume it to be part of its defense. then compensatory justice could well form a part of the ensuing theory of justice. Genocide. moreover. (Moving on. it will have an “ought” nature. are all reasonable desert bases on an ecumenical view.15 view of desert to justify compensatory justice. By this I mean that if desert is found to be the only principle of justice. so while a radical view of desert may well be compatible with compensatory justice. so that a common . putting in a hard day’s work. more likely to fit with its general thrust. Non-conclusive desert is compatible with compensatory justice and is. To recapitulate. A nonconclusive version of desert provides a desert-based reason to give certain things to certain people. we shall now consider whether it is an ecumenical or selective view of desert that is most likely to help defend the ideal of compensatory justice. I think it is also true that radical desert (the idea that desert is the only principle of justice) is not an issue for defenders of compensatory justice. but also that compensatory justice is just as viable within a pluralistic desert-based theory of justice. or growing the largest zucchini in the state. A selective view however would limit the things that one could legitimately be deemed to be deserving of. which means that whatever the specific nature of the type of desert we use. an ecumenical view of desert takes a variety of things to be grounds for desert claims. So for now we can conceive of our version of desert as non-radical and part of a pluralistic moral view. but since it is not the only reason up for consideration it is non-conclusive. Compensatory justice is limited to the space of labour.

the third is not. we could say that someone who was responsible for genocide deserved to be killed. ) So which view would best defend compensatory justice? It would seem that a selective view which only values morally appraisable things as grounds for desert is most in tune with the idea that wages should reflect workers’ labour burdens. this will show that either conception could support compensatory justice given certain conditions. So if we were to take moral desert as the only kind of desert. This is because the notion that high burden deserves high compensation reflects a concern for moral acts such as effort. while killing off a peoples and working hard are vicious and virtuous respectively. If desert is the notion that people should receive things on the basis of their characteristics or behaviour. This is because on this view the common thread is that the desert bases are morally appraisable things. and while the first two are morally appraisable acts. In fact. growing a large vegetable is neither a virtuous nor vicious thing. and that someone who has worked hard all day deserves a break. But conceptualising desert as ecumenical does not require us to grant any and all things to people we conceive . However. it also seems that there is no reason why a view that values moral desert bases amongst others cannot be a supporting principle also. then the real reason for conceiving of desert as moral desert only is because proponents of moral desert are uncomfortable with characteristics that are due to luck affecting what people may claim they should receive. I think if we look at ecumenical desert versus moral selective desert in a different way. but we could not say someone deserved a thousand dollars for growing the largest zucchini in the state.16 thread is conspicuous throughout all desert bases.

22 There is no obvious conflict between recognising all different kinds of desert claims and then only distributing goods on the basis of morally significant things. as it is the defender of 22 Presuming the reason for the victories is the natural talent of the winners. Compensatory justice is only incompatible with giving out higher incomes for morally non-appraisable things. The death penalty for example is compatible with compensatory justice.S. and so is its prohibition. Before we move on I should also like to point out that elements of retributive justice such as punishment are neither incompatible nor necessarily connected to the use of any kind of desert to justify compensatory justice. The question of whether compensatory justice is defended by an ecumenical or selective view of desert is therefore moot since both work equally well with the ideal. so long as moral desert is taken to be the correct basis for the distribution of goods. Masters for example. even though neither can be said to be morally deserving. How you conceive of desert is not particularly important. So compensatory justice does need the concept that people cannot deserve extra income for things they are not responsible for. and the condition that only moral desert can be the basis for distributing goods.17 of as deserving. Let us then narrow our brand of desert to moral desert. but people may be said to deserve recognition in the form of titles or grades for aspects of themselves and their actions for which they are not responsible. Compensatory justice can be defended either by the selective view or the ecumenical view of desert. what is important is what you allow to be given out on the basis of various desert grounds. . One could still advocate crowning the prettiest girl Miss Universe or handing out the title of winner to the best golfer at the U.

The final distinction to consider is whether this kind of desert is pre-institutional or institutional. For example. Compensatory justice is. not defended by an institutional view of desert.18 compensatory justice and therefore the appropriate principle to look at. This idea is echoed in compensatory justice. a person who gives half their income to charity deserves praise. At this stage therefore we are proceeding with a type of moral desert which is deontic but nonconclusive (or non-radical). non-conclusive. under a welfare state an unemployed person deserves to receive the unemployment benefit while she is out of work only because the government’s welfare programme sets out to provide a safety net for people who cannot find work. So the type of desert which is most likely to defend the ideal of compensatory justice is pre-institutional desert. That brand is deontic. it is not the sole principle of justice.) Finally we are left with the brand of desert that is most likely to support the ideal of compensatory justice. moral and pre-institutional. fairly clearly. as an institutional view of desert cannot support a principle unless it is an existing aim of an institution. it takes things which are morally . Pre-institutional desert on the other hand is a ‘natural’ concept which appeals to our intuition that people should get certain things because of features they possess or their behaviour. (Remember that institutional desert is the principle that people deserve things which they are entitled to according to institutions. A preinstitutional moral desert can influence institutions so that people in part receive what they receive because they are worthy of such treatment. For example. It has moral force.

These other common principles of distribution are not directly concerned with the character of the people who receive more of. IX. This means that the type of desert I have in mind to espouse compensatory justice is similar in nature to the common view of desert as it is used in everyday language with regards to wages. What is now at issue is whether this brand of desert is any kind of defense for a model of distribution. When people make comments like “those lazy MPs don’t deserve $250 000 a year”. the principle which is utilized is. This notion. and efficiency because it forms a moral judgement of the worker herself. This is why I have set out desert in this chapter as something which holds morally appraisable things to be influential. or less of. Desert as I have construed it in this chapter reflects the growing concern of egalitarians with the role of personal responsibility in distribution. utility. society’s resources. depending on a compatible definition of what constitutes “morally appraisable”. and compensatory justice aims to hold people responsible for their incomes. is distinct from concerns about such things as equality. and.19 appraisable to be grounds for desert. It may be either part of an ecumenical view of desert or form the criteria for a selective view. Moral desert equates desert to morally appraisable bases. at least in part. and it is a “natural” or “raw” principle as it does not take the aims of institutions to be the only basis for desert. that wages should be based on characteristics attributable to the worker. as I mentioned earlier. worker characteristics such as laziness thus play a significant role for desert in affairs of distributive justice. Conclusion .

London.23 Desert seemed to me to be a viable foundation for a defense of compensatory justice because of its connection with personal responsibility. . See. Political argument. as opposed to the character of the individual. To recapitulate. Section III dealt with the subject of deontic versus telic desert while section IV discussed radical desert. one may say Barry deserves ₤50 if he climbs a rock that someone had offered a ₤50 prize for climbing. desert that makes room for other principles in a pluralistic view of justice. Since desert is a term with so many varying meanings it was necessary to elucidate just what constituted the type of desert I had in mind. But not all types of desert echo this common-view meaning.24 This kind of desert bases how deserving someone is on rules and institutions.20 This chapter set out to clarify what kind of desert could support the ideal of compensatory justice. introducing it as a complicated principle of justice. Routledge and Kegan Paul.e. maybe not quite as many. Brian Barry. This was necessary because desert is a principle with as many incarnations and branches as equality. but rather the fact that a rule existed and thusly he must be granted what that rule promised. As in the Brian Barry example of institutional desert. I concluded that deontic desert was better suited to compensatory justice than telic desert and that non-radical desert. 1965. I started the chapter with an introduction to the issue of desert as it relates to the ideal of compensatory justice.53. it is not the fact that Barry has achieved an admirable feat through perseverance and good old-fashioned sweat that is the basis for his ₤50 reward. p. mirrored compensatory justice’s concern only with the space of wages 23 24 Well. but there is a lot. Then in section II I talked about desert in general. i.

either selective or ecumenical. The last distinction I noted was that of institutional and pre-institutional desert in section VII. . This kind of desert provides a reason to distribute goods according to the worthiness of workers. I then explained in section V how there are two more approaches to desert: the ecumenical approach. After this I looked at the concept of moral desert in section VI. making it. showing that this is a distinct brand of desert because it considers only things which are morally appraisable to be appropriate grounds for desert. very close to the everyday meaning of the word “deserve”. My conclusion was that a desert that was deontic.21 and work. I decided on which types of desert fitted with compensatory justice. moral. I believe. and the selective approach which limits desert bases to one type of thing. non-radical. in section VIII. Finally. which takes a variety of things to be bases for desert. and pre-institutional would best defend compensatory justice.