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Welfare to WorkConditional Rights in Social Policy$
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Amir Paz-Fuchs

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199237418

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199237418.001.0001

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From Equality to the Right to Welfare

From Equality to the Right to Welfare

(p.132) 4 From Equality to the Right to Welfare
Welfare to Work

Amir Paz-Fuchs

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the philosophical and legal tension between two concepts: reciprocity and equality. Reciprocity governs the approach behind welfare-to-work programmes, from the political philosophy to the practical interactions between government agencies and welfare claimants. It is often seen to support a conception of fairness that places government duties as contingent upon the fulfillment of personal obligations. In contrast, egalitarians are perceived as emphasizing society's duties which are justifiable notwithstanding the individual's failure to take responsibility for her own life choices. This chapter argues that egalitarianism is often seen as opposed to reciprocity because of the different attitude that each expresses towards the idea of personal responsibility. It outlines contemporary efforts to reconcile reciprocity, equality, and personal responsibility, and finds them wanting. It then suggests a different model than the one offered by contemporary egalitarian writers; one, it is argued, that fulfills their objectives better than their own proposals.

Keywords:   personal responsibility, reciprocity, choice, reasonableness, welfare rights, equality

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