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Ethics, Economics, and PoliticsPrinciples of Public Policy$
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I. M. D. Little

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199257041

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2004

DOI: 10.1093/0199257043.001.0001

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Utilitarianism, Justice, and Equality

Utilitarianism, Justice, and Equality

Chapter:
(p.53) 6 Utilitarianism, Justice, and Equality
Source:
Ethics, Economics, and Politics
Author(s):

Ian Malcolm David Little

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199257043.003.0006

The 1970s saw a wave of attacks on utilitarianism and consequentialism, favouring theories of good government based on contract, whereby what was good followed from what was right, rather than vice versa. There was emphasis on social and distributive justice, seen largely in terms of equality of resources somehow defined, rather than welfare. The various meanings of justice are discussed, and the theories of two leaders of this contractarian movement, namely John Rawls and Ronald Dworkin, are found to be flawed. There are serious difficulties with the measurement of equality (of anything). For this and other reasons, the concept of equality is not an acceptable unifying social end.

Keywords:   contract, distributive justice, Dworkin, equality, procedural justice, Rawls, resources, utilitarianism, veil of ignorance

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