I apologize for the large size of this snip, but this analysis is fascinating (and useful):
Generally, when people categorize economic and political philosophies, they do so according to a left-right spectrum. Writers group all of the philosophical arguments that tend towards right-wing conclusions together, and then do the same for philosophies that tend towards left-wing conclusions. Although helpful for some purposes, those actually interested in the philosophical moves in economic and political theory should split the philosophies, not into the categories of left and right, but into the categories of procedural and distributive. As the names suggest procedural justice refers to the use of just processes, and distributive justice refers to the achievement of just distributions of things like resources, capabilities, benefits, burdens, and welfare. […]
Procedural justice approaches to economic and political philosophy ground the justness of a particular system in the processes the system follows. On this view, any system that follows just processes is just, no matter what else obtains about it. In the contemporary era, there are two philosophical approaches that primarily concern themselves with issues of procedural justice: right-libertarianism and left-libertarianism (sometimes called anarchism).
On the right-libertarian line, just processes are those which are “non-aggressive” and therefore voluntary and non-coercive. Right-libertarians like Murray Rothbard and Robert Nozick argue that a free market, laissez-faire, capitalist system (perhaps one without a government at all) is the only one that follows just processes. They regard taxation as a form of aggression that is wrong in itself, no matter what its impact on overall social welfare might be. A very strict procedural right-libertarian would think that it is more just to permit hundreds of millions of people to starve to death than to feed them by levying a tax. The starvation of hundreds of millions does not relate to justice in this worldview because only just processes matter for justice. […]
Left-libertarians (or anarchists) are similarly obsessed with procedural components of justice. Anarchists think that just economic and political processes are those which involve non-hierarchical, consensus-based decision-making. Although anarchists generally have egalitarian ideas as well, the primary emphasis of the view — at least among actual self-identified anarchists — is on process. A just system is one that follows the procedural requirements of non-hierarchy and consensus, regardless of what results from it. […]
Unlike procedural justice, distributive justice concerns itself with the distribution of goods within society, not the process of how those goods are distributed. Like procedural justice, distributive justice has right-wing and left-wing forms.
On the right, distributive justice primarily takes the form of desert theory: society ought to be constructed so as to deliver to each person what they deserve. What constitutes deservedness is rather slippery of course. But on the right, it tends to be defined in terms of marginal productivity: a person deserves to keep what they produce. In a world of independent yeoman farmers — the world Thomas Jefferson yearned for — desert based on marginal productivity is not too hard to figure out. You keep what you grow or raise. In a modern capitalist economy, the connection of work to productivity becomes more tenuous. Mitt Romney for instance “made” over $20 million in 2010 without doing any work at all: the money was just returns on investments. […]
Distributive justice on the left-wing however encompasses an enormous number of philosophies and theorists. The most famous and most relevant set of those theories were written from the late 20th century to the present. John Rawls — the most famous of the bunch — argued that the main task for economic justice should be deciding upon the distribution of primary goods, i.e. goods that everyone wants no matter what else they want. These goods include things like rights, liberties, income, wealth, and social respect. […]
I think distributive justice tracks better what people are truly interested in. I am doubtful that people are actually interested in the maintenance of abstract rules of process. Does the starving woman feel any better about her hunger when she knows that at least libertarian exchange processes are being upheld? Probably not. Ultimately, I suspect that people are actually interested in well-being, welfare, capabilities, and so on. Distributive justice frameworks center those things as the focal points of justice, which makes me more partial to that approach. That does not mean that process is irrelevant of course. It just means that processes should be primarily judged according to the distributive consequences they generate, not as just or unjust in themselves.