Stability, Reciprocity, and the Fair Value of Political Liberty: The Reticent Socialism of John Rawls

Posted: 11 Jul 2014 Last revised: 23 Jun 2016

See all articles by William A. Edmundson

William A. Edmundson

Georgia State University College of Law

Date Written: November 11, 2015

Abstract

John Rawls argued that welfare-state capitalism would be rejected in a constitutional convention called to implement the principles of justice chosen in the original position. But neither property-owning democracy nor liberal democratic socialism could be ruled out. Property-owning democracy allows private ownership of major productive assets, while liberal democratic socialism does not. Rawls came to rely on the first-principle guarantee of the fair value of political liberty in his defense of the difference principle. Bur fair value -- together with the principle of reciprocity and the need to assure stability -- lays the basis for a powerful argument for constitutional-stage measures that rule out private ownership of major productive assets.

Keywords: Rawls, property owning democracy, socialism, justice, distributive justice, reciprocity, stability

Suggested Citation

Edmundson, William A., Stability, Reciprocity, and the Fair Value of Political Liberty: The Reticent Socialism of John Rawls (November 11, 2015). Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2014-26, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2464390 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2464390

William A. Edmundson (Contact Author)

Georgia State University College of Law ( email )

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