Primary goods are presented in the important book A Theory of Justice (1971) written by the American philosopher John Rawls. In the first edition of the Theory of Justice, these goods are supposed to be desirable for every human being, just as they are also useful for them. Thus, primary goods are the common base for the unanimous selection of the justice principle in the original position.
Primary goods are subdivided in two categories:
- Natural primary goods: this category includes intelligence, imagination, health, etc.
- Social primary goods: this category includes rights (civil rights and political rights), liberties, income and wealth, the social bases of self-respect, etc.
And in the second edition of the Theory of Justice, these goods are those that the citizens need, as free people and as members of the society.
- Rawls J., A Theory of Justice, Belknap, United States, 1971.
- Sen A., Equality of What?, The Tanner Lecture on Human Values, Stanford University, May 1979.