Stability, Reciprocity, and the Fair Value of Political Liberty: The Reticent Socialism of John Rawls
Posted: 11 Jul 2014 Last revised: 23 Jun 2016
Date Written: November 11, 2015
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
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