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Liberalism and Distributive Justice$
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Samuel Freeman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190699260

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190699260.001.0001

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Property-Owning Democracy and the Difference Principle

Property-Owning Democracy and the Difference Principle

(p.137) 4 Property-Owning Democracy and the Difference Principle
Liberalism and Distributive Justice

Samuel Freeman

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses John Rawls’s conception of property-owning democracy and how it is related to his difference principle. Rawls says that the main problem of distributive justice is the choice of a social system. Property-owning democracy is the social system that Rawls thought best realizes the requirements of his principles of justice. This chapter explains why Rawls thought that welfare-state capitalism could not fulfill his principles and discusses the connection between welfare-state capitalism and utilitarianism. It also clarifies the crucial role of democratic reciprocity and the social bases of self-respect in Rawls’s argument for both the difference principle and property-owning democracy.

Keywords:   economic justice, property-owning democracy, Rawls, distributive justice, welfare-state capitalism, utilitarianism

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