Distributive justice and poverty alleviation in Mexico (1992-2000)
The liberal debate on egalitarian distributive justice was originally developed with affluent occidental countries in mind. We might ask whether the liberal egalitarian distributive question has a different answer when we consider countries with a different social justice answer should in principle better interpret a political conception of social justice for a poor society, and within this general distributive principle provide specific theoretical distributive criteria for the design of poverty alleviation programmes. I claim, as a possible answer to this theoretical question that egalitarianism could be better served by using a mixed distributive. I maintain that in extreme scarcity situations egalitarians should rather appeal to a moral pluralist view where many factors matter when we compare various feasible distributions, not only equality. This “hybrid” distributive view, which I have called Progressive Sufficiency would not give ultimate importance to equality; it would give priority to the worse off over the better off individuals only under some circumstances and would consider that several morally relevant thresholds should be clarified. Another problem relates to the type of goods upon we should focus when dealing with interpersonal comparisons. Three types are commonly distinguished: welfare, resources and capability. Progressive sufficiency for instance would recommend thresholds in advantage with the first one described in absolute terms and the second and third described in progressive increases of benefits, taking as the measure of benefits the average held by the proportion of the population within thresholds. Thus we could conclude that both analysis either of the distributive criterion and the currency of the distribution naturally fit together in a general prioritarian argument with graded steps of benefits. My case study is Mexico and some of its recent poverty alleviation programmes (1992-2000). In terms of developing countries, the Mexican case is interesting because most of its institutions and policies have being inspired by liberal ideas that have succeeded in creating a moderately strong economy, but have failed in the fair distribution of scarce resources.