Property-Owning Democracy: Rawls and Beyond features a collection of original essays that represent the first extended treatment of political philosopher John Rawls' idea of a property-owning democracy. Offers new and essential insights into Rawls's idea of "property-owning democracy" Addresses the proposed political and economic institutions and policies which Rawls's theory would require Considers radical alternatives to existing forms of capitalism Provides a major contribution to debates among progressive policymakers and activists about the programmatic direction progressive politics should take in the (...) near future. (shrink)
This paper addresses ways of arguing fors ome form of economic democracy from within a broadly Rawlsian framework. Firstly, one can argue that a right to participate in economic decision-making should be added to the Rawlsian list of basic liberties, protected by the ﬁrst principle of justice. Secondly,I argue that a society which institutes forms of economic democracy will be more likely to preserve a stable and just basic structure over time, by virtue of the effects of economic democratization on (...) the development of an active, democratic character among citizens. Thirdly, I argue that a proper understanding of the demands of the difference principle shows that justice demands more than ex post redistribution, but also requires the ex ante redistribution of power and authority in economic life. This connects to Rawls’s discussion of the badness of inequality, and to his endorsement of a “property-owning democracy”. -/- My conclusion is that, even if we may doubt the success of this ﬁrst Rawlsian argument,the second and third arguments are both successful, and together establish a strong Rawlsian case forseeing economic democratization as a requirement of justice. (shrink)
This article seeks to defend prioritarianism against a pair of challenges from Michael Otsuka and Alex Voorhoeve. Otsuka and Voorhoeve first argue that prioritarianism makes implausible recommendations in one-person cases under conditions of risk, as it fails to allow that it is reasonable to act to maximize expected utility, rather than expected weighted benefits, in such cases. I show that, in response, prioritarians can either reject Otsuka and Voorhoeve's claim, by means of appealing to a distinction between personal and impersonal (...) value, or alternatively they can harmlessly accommodate it, by means of appealing to the status of prioritarianism as a view about the moral value of outcomes, rather than as an account of all-things-considered reasonable action. Otsuka and Voorhoeve secondly claim that prioritarianism fails to explain a divergence in our considered moral judgement between one-person and many-person cases. I show that the prioritarian has two alternative, and independently plausible, lines of response to this charge, one more concessive and the other more unyielding. Hence, neither of Otsuka and Voorhoeve's challenges need seriously trouble the prioritarian. (shrink)
Democratic societies such as the United Kingdom have come to fail their young citizens, often sacrificing their interests in a political process that gives much greater weight to the preferences and interests of older citizens. Against this background of intergenerational injustice, this article presents the case for a shift in the political system in the direction of radical democratic inclusion of younger citizens, through reducing the voting age to 12. This change in the voting age can be justified directly, with (...) reference to the status, interests, and capacities of younger citizens, and it can also be justified as a remedy to existing forms of intergenerational injustice. This change in the voting age would require a parallel transformation in the role of secondary schools as part of the ‘critical infrastructure' of a democratic society, which would be part of a broader shift towards a more genuinely democratic political culture. The proposal is defended against less radical alternatives (such as votes at 16) and more radical alternatives (such as votes for younger children). The article concludes with some reflections on democracy and intergenerational justice in light of the Covid pandemic and the climate emergency. (shrink)
The idea of predistribution has the potential to offer a valuable and distinctive approach to political philosophers, political scientists, and economists, in thinking about social justice and the creation of more egalitarian economies. It is also an idea that has drawn the interest of politicians of the left and centre-left, promising an alternative to traditional forms of social democracy. But the idea of predistribution is not well understood, and stands in need of elucidation. This article explores ways of drawing the (...) conceptual and normative distinction between predistribution and redistribution, examining those general categories when considering the roles of public services and fiscal transfers, and looking at the ways in which government policies can empower and disempower different individuals and groups within the economy. This article argues that the most initially plausible and common-sensical ways of drawing the distinction between predistributive and redistributive public policies collapse when put under analytical pressure. It concludes that the distinction between predistribution and redistribution is best seen in terms of the aims or effects of policies rather than a deeper division of policy types, and argues that, once seen in those terms, predistribution is a central concern of social justice. (shrink)
This review essay looks at two important recent books on the empirical social science of inequality, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett's The Spirit Level and John Hills et al .'s Towards a More Equal Society? , situating these books against the important work of Michael Marmot on epidemiology and health inequalities. I argue that political philosophy can gain a great deal from careful engagement with empirical research on the nature and consequences of inequality, especially in regard to empirical work on (...) the relationship between socioeconomic inequality, status, self-respect, domination, autonomy, the quality of social relations, and societal health outcomes. The essay also raises some methodological questions about the approach taken by Wilkinson and Pickett, as well as questioning the ways in which their argument is (or is not) best understood as being fundamentally egalitarian in character. It concludes with some reflections, prompted by Hills et al ., on the lessons that should be learned by egalitarians from the experience of the Blair and Brown governments in the UK. (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: Introduction: Rawls Against Capitalism Rawls's Critique of “Welfare State Capitalism” Rawls (and Meade) on the Aims and Features of “Property‐Owning Democracy” Putting the Democracy into Property‐Owning Democracy: POD and the Fair Value of the Political Liberties Power, Opportunity, and Control of Capital: POD and Fair Equality of Opportunity Power, Status, and Self‐Respect: POD, the Difference Principle, and the Value of Equality Welfare State Capitalism and Property‐Owning Democracy: Ideal Types, Public Policy, and Real Politics Conclusion ‐ (...) Liberty, Equality, and Property‐Owning Democracy References. (shrink)
If pursued with serious intent, Pre-distribution has the capacity to create an exciting and radical new agenda for social democracy. But the politics of Pre-distribution cannot be innocuous or uncontroversial. -/- In its more radical forms, predistribution is a potentially radical and inspiring project for social democrats who have come to see the limitations of the old ways of doing things. It’s a project that promises a strategy to deliver abundantly on values of social justice, economic freedom, and equality of (...) opportunity. But it’s a project that involves going head-to-head with entrenched interests, breaking up existing concentrations of wealth and economic power. The politics of Pre-distribution, if taken seriously, simply cannot be a politics without enemies. Labour must decide whether its engagement with pre-distribution is to be limited to tinkering at the edges of neoliberalism, or whether it will instead fully embrace the opportunities of the present moment, decide to be radical, and realise the full promise of the politics of predistribution. -/- . (shrink)
This article makes the case for a specific variety of what we call collective capital institutions (CCIs), by returning to the idea of Wage-Earner Funds – a 1970’s Swedish policy proposal designed gradually to shift ownership and control over parts of the economy over to democratically controlled institutions. We identify two attractive rationales in favour of such a scheme, and argue that both can fruitfully be transposed to the current worldwide economic situation. The egalitarian rationale is that CCIs could help (...) in the pursuit of equality by giving a wider set of people a stake in collectively owned companies and a right to their profits. The democratic rationale is that CCIs redistribute not only these profits, but also the power over economic decisions made within companies. We then contrast such schemes for collective capital ownership with the similar but much more privatised proposals set out in, for instance, John Rawls’s idea of a ‘property-owning democracy’. We argue that CCIs ultimately are more likely to contribute to the development of the ‘sense of justice’ within society that is needed for a stable just society. We conclude that CCIs deserve a great deal more exploration in academic and political discussions of egalitarian economic systems. (shrink)
The focus of this article is on the place of the limited-liability joint stock corporation in a satisfactory account of social justice and, more specifically, the question of how such corporations should be regulated and taxed in order to secure social justice. -/- Most discussion in liberal political philosophy looks at state institutions, on the one hand, and individuals, on the other hand, without giving much attention to intermediate institutions such as corporations. This is in part a consequence of a (...) certain degree of idealization in terms of the background model of society with which such theories operate. Intermediate institutions are in an important sense optional or discretionary, and one would be hampering an account of justice if it built-in from the start particular kinds of institutions which we could imagine doing without. The only non-state institution that has received adequate attention in political philosophy is the nuclear family, in part because of its pervasiveness and resilience. But the corporation is probably second only to the family in its significance, in terms of its effects on the lives of individuals, and yet has been left without adequate attention. (shrink)
John Rawls is arguably the most important political philosopher of the past century. His theory of justice has set the agenda for debate in mainstream political philosophy for the past forty years, and has had an important influence in economics, law, sociology, and other disciplines. However, despite the importance and popularity of Rawls's work, there is no clear picture of what a society that met Rawls's principles of justice would actually look like. This article sets out to explore that question.
Under conditions with a low level of available genetic information, mutualistic private insurance markets will often create broadly just outcomes, even if by accident rather than by design. Normatively acceptable outcomes of this kind would come under threat if insurers were to have increased access to genetic information with substantial predictive content.1 As the availability of relevant individual genetic information grows, mutualistic forms of market-based insurance face a dilemma between either sacrificing individuals’ interests in genetic privacy, or creating conditions for (...) market failure due to adverse selection. My view is therefore that we have good reason to shift towards more solidaristic forms of ‘risk-sharing institutions’ with regard to functions such as life insurance and critical illness insurance, as a way of resolving normative tensions between values of equality, privacy, non-discrimination and autonomy. Such a position, I have argued, does not depend on endorsing any particular conception of social justice, but can be defended on the basis of a number of different plausible accounts of what justice demands.1 Jonathan Pugh argues against my endorsement of a shift towards solidaristic, non-market risk-sharing institutions, and instead argues broadly in favour of the status quo. He holds that it counts against my proposals that they ‘have wide-ranging and highly revisionary implications’, and argues that my approach is mistaken in relying on ‘a single contestable theory’. Pugh offers a purportedly less contestable account of the relevant normative considerations underlying insurance regimes, composed of three …. (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: Justice as Fairness and Property‐Owning Democracy Part One: Property‐Owning Democracy: Theoretical Foundations Part Two: Interrogating Property‐Owning Democracy: Work, Gender, Political Economy Part Three: Toward a Practical Politics of Property‐Owning Democracy: Program and Politics References.
This is the first book to give a collective treatment of philosophical issues relating to tax. Given that the tax system is central to the operation of states and to the ways in which states interact with individual citizens, more interdisciplinary attention to conceptual and normative issues relating to tax is urgently needed.
If solutions to the problem of inequality are to be as radical as reality now demands, what is instead required is a reimagining of what would be involved comprehensively to tame capitalism through democratic means. This will involve much further development of the kind of plurality of institutional and policy proposals sketched by Meade, and will involve both the private and public – individual and collective – forms of capital predistribution that Meade advocated. Piketty, like Meade, sees the need for (...) both redistribution and predistribution, and both see that the institutional means necessary to create a more equal society will involve pursuing a plurality of parallel paths. It is closely in keeping with the spirit of Piketty’s Capital that the political and intellectual agenda ahead will be one that economics on its own cannot hope to encompass. It’s a vital agenda, with high stakes, and presents challenges to both academic researchers and political activists. On the success of this endeavour depends nothing less than the prospects for legitimate continuation of our economic system. (shrink)
The New Labour we got was different from the New Labour that might have been, had the reform agenda associated with stakeholding and pluralism in the early-1990s been fully realised. We investigate the road not taken and what it means for ‘one nation’ Labour.
What would be a fair model for flood insurance? Catastrophic flooding has become increasingly frequent in the UK and, with climate change, is likely to become even more frequent in the future. With the UK's current flood insurance regime ending in 2013, we argues that: -/- - there is an overwhelming case for rejecting a free market in flood insurance after 2013; - this market-based approach threatens to leave many thousands of properties uninsurable, leading to extensive social blight; - there (...) are a number of possible flood insurance models that would be fairer and more sustainable. -/- We outline three approaches to 'fairness' in flood insurance, and argues that the second and third of these would be the most 'solidaristic' – i.e. those at lower risk of flooding would contribute to the support of people at higher risk: -/- 'pure actuarial fairness' – insurance costs directly reflect the level of risk faced by individuals; 'choice-sensitive fairness' – insurance costs should reflect only those risks that result from each individual's choices; 'fairness as social justice' – insurance should be provided independently of individuals' risks and choices when covering basic requirements of social justice. (shrink)
This paper explains Wittegnstein’s understanding of the ‘grammar’ of our language, tracing its origins in the Tractatus’s concept of logical syntax, and then examining the senses in which Wittegnstein, in his later work, viewed grammar as being ‘arbitrary’. Then, armed with this understanding, it moves on to the task of examining how, within the framework of a Wittegnsteinian view of language, we should understand the inescapable ‘compellingness’ of logical necessity – what Wittegnstein calls the “hardness of the logical must”. Whereas (...) it is often thought that Wittegnstein’s views on the nature of the ‘grammar’ of our concpets leads him towards a vitiatingly conventionalist or anti‐realist understanding of necessity, in which its logical ‘superhardness’ becomes problematic, this paper will argue that there is actually no such tension in Wittegnstein’s thought. In fact, it will be argued, an understanding of the ways in which our conceptual grammar is arbitrary casts a great deal of light on how it is that our concepts can nevertheless support a logically superhard, and normatively commanding, notion of necessity. In support of this view, I distinguish Wittegnstein’s views on necessity from the ‘classical’ conventionalism of the Vienna Circle, and from the radical conventionalism of Michael Dummett, and defend Wittegnstein’s view from a powerful recent attack from Quassim Cassam. (shrink)
This paper explains (in Part A) Wittegnstein’s understanding of the ‘grammar’ of our (or any) language, tracing its origins in the Tractatus’s concept of logical syntax, and then examining the senses in which Wittegnstein, in his later work, viewed grammar as being ‘arbitrary’. Then, armed with this understanding, it moves on (in Part B) to the task of examining how, within the framework of a Wittegnsteinian view of language, we should understand the inescapable ‘compellingness’ of logical necessity – what Wittegnstein (...) calls the “hardness of the logical must”. Whereas it is often thought that Wittegnstein’s views on the nature of the ‘grammar’ of our concpets leads him towards a vitiatingly conventionalist or anti‐realist understanding of necessity, in which its logical ‘superhardness’ becomes problematic, this paper will argue that there is actually no such tension in Wittegnstein’s thought. In fact, it will be argued, an understanding of the ways in which our conceptual grammar is arbitrary casts a great deal of light on how it is that our concepts can nevertheless support a logically superhard, and normatively commanding, notion of necessity. In support of this view, I distinguish Wittegnstein’s views on necessity from the ‘classical’ conventionalism of the Vienna Circle, and from the radical conventionalism of Michael Dummett, and defend Wittegnstein’s view from a powerful recent attack from Quassim Cassam. (shrink)