Parental Justice: Fairness and Intentionality
This paper reconstructs the most recent fairness-based positive answer to the question of whether nonparents in a just society should share the costs of children with parents, in order to show it is unsuccessful. The socialized goods argument formulated by Serena Olsaretti holds that in a society with a unified welfare system, parents’ having and rearing children creates important goods which are socialized through publicly funded schemes so as to benefit parents and nonparents alike. Olsaretti argues that, according to Rawls’s fair play principle, nonparents should share the costs of children with parents. My positive project is to offer my own view on the type of intentions that benefits producers (here, the parents) must be said to have in order to have claims of fairness under Rawls’s construal of the fair play principle. I argue that benefits producers must (1) intend to (or aim to) bring about the beneficial outcome for which they want to have claims of fairness, and (2) intend to do so as part of a cooperative scheme. The negative project is to reject Serena Olsaretti’s socialized goods argument on the ground that parents do not exhibit the requisite cooperative intentions.