Entitlement theorem

Entitlement theorem is a precept of distributive justice which maintains that individuals are entitled to their goods provided these were obtained by socially acceptable means such as sale, purchase, or as gifts.

Also see: Rawls theory of justice

J Rawls, A Theory of Justice (Oxford, 1971)

While an earned sense of entitlement is usually seen as more beneficent than purely psychological entitlement, it can also have a destructive counterpart in the sense of a felt entitlement to revenge based on the accumulation of grievances.[1]

Psychoanalysis differentiated among children three main varieties of the sense of entitlement: normal; inflated; and compromised.[2] The inflated sense of entitlement sought special privileges for the individual alone, perhaps to compensate for childhood suffering or narcissistic injury; while the compromised sense involved an inability to expect the basic rights enjoyed by those around one.[3] A normal or healthy sense of entitlement included an expectation of responsiveness from significant others,[4] a sense of agency, and a sense of one’s right to one’s own feelings – all forming positive elements in self-esteem.[5]

Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy distinguished in adult life between (ethically) earning entitlement in relationships, through care and consideration, and a subjective feeling of entitlement the real basis for which may be very different.[6] Thus the depressive may have an unjustifiably low sense of entitlement, the manic an exaggeratedly high one.[7] The gambler may feel entitled to expect a big win, to compensate for childhood deprivation; those who clamour most loudly for such reimbursement from fate may in fact unconsciously doubt their entitlement to anything at all.[8]

An inflated sense of what is sometimes called psychological entitlement[9] – unrealistic, exaggerated, or rigidly held – is especially prominent among narcissists. According to the DSM-5, individuals with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) are likely to have a “sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others”, typically without commensurate qualities or accomplishments:[10][11] Similarly, according to Vaknin, the narcissistic personality attempts to protect the vulnerable self by building layers of grandiosity and a huge sense of entitlement.[12] Similar to individuals with narcissistic personality disorder, those with borderline personality disorder display a strong sense of entitlement, according to research conducted by Dr. John Gunderson and Dr. Elsa Ronningstam. Ronningstam and Gunderson state “Characteristics shared by the two disorders and thus failing to discriminate between NPD and BPD are notable. A sense of entitlement occurred in both diagnostic groups in Morey’s and our studies; that is, both narcissists and borderlines felt that others should recognize their needs and give them special favours”

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