Unanimous actual practical opinion, reflective philosophy, and our basic social rule, seem to imply that overall distributive justice, and notably the proper income tax, are not to be defined from the maximization of a social welfare function of individual utilities. Rather, society should certainly respect the « social freedom » of the basic rights, and secure some kind of efficient equal freedom of choice in domains of choice which are necessarily non-identical. The various ways of specifying this principle lead to the same distributive structure of ELIE – equal labour income equalization -, which also amounts to an equal tax-credit (or basic income) financed by an equal labour of all – or by a flat tax exempting overtime labour -; to each individual yielding to each other the proceeds of the same labour; and to a number of other highly meaningful properties. This scheme is incentive-compatible, implies a minimum income, and satisfies realistic no-envy. It applies to multidimensional labour and extends to situations of unemployment. Both its simple structure and the available information favour its practical application. The determination of its degree of distribution, solidarity and community – proper to each society – is discussed.
Macrojustice from equal liberty: The normative economics of optimum income taxation and distribution