Capitalist societies are full of unacceptable inequalities. Freedom is of paramount importance. These two convictions, widely shared around the world, seem to be in direct contradiction with each other. Fighting inequality jeopardizes freedom, and taking freedom seriously boosts inequality. Can this conflict be resolved? In this ground-breaking book, Philippe Van Parijs sets a new and compelling case for a just society. Assessing and rejecting the claims of both socialism and conventional capitalism, he presents a clear and compelling alternative vision of (...) the just society: a capitalist society offering a substantial and unconditional basic income to all its members. Not just an exercise in political theory, this book reveals a new ideal of a free society and its meaning in the real world by drawing out its policy implications. It is essential reading for anyone concerned about the just society and the welfare state as we move into the twenty-first century. (shrink)
In Europe and throughout the world, competence in English is spreading at a speed never achieved by any language in human history. This growing dominance of English is frequently perceived as being grossly unjust. This book is the first systematic treatment of the of the normative aspects of language policy and how this relates to justice.
For Europeans who strive for greater justice, there is no more cruel dilemma that the tension between maximal generosity towards the weakest among insiders and maximal hospitality towards the many outsiders who are keen, indeed sometimes desperate, to immigrate into the European Union. Opening the doors wide open would not only increase competition for the jobs, housing and public services which the least advantaged insiders need. It would also threaten the viability, both economic and political, of generous welfare state institutions. (...) And it would shake the fragile institutional framework that supports the imperfect yet exceptional combination of freedom and peace, of prosperity and solidarity which European citizens currently enjoy. Such a diagnosis may need qualification on several counts. But when endeavouring to determine what immigration policy the European Union should adopt, we should not deny or hide or minimize the dilemma it implies. Nor should we surrender to the demands it is likely to inspire to self-interested democratic majorities. We need a sensible conception of what a just world would be like and a pragmatic, no-nonsense, opportunistic approach to the measures that could take us closer to it in the messy world we live in. These measures are bound to be many. But there are at least two that deserve more attention than they usually receive: the efficient use of the diasporas present in our cosmopolitan cities and transnational interpersonal transfer schemes. (shrink)
In this book, he argues that the purpose of democracy should be to promote justice - we need not just democracy (in the sense of unqualified democracy) but a just democracy. Machiavelli and Rawls must be brought together.
A basic income is an income paid by a political community to all its members on an individual basis, without means test or work requirement. This article surveys the various forms the basic income proposal has taken and how they relate to kin ideas; synthesizes the central case for basic income, as a strategy against both poverty and unemployment; examines the question of whether and in what sense a universal basic income is affordable; and discusses the most promising next steps (...) towards it, both in the North and in the South. (shrink)
The world is full of situations of asymmetric bilingualism: the members of one linguistic group learn the language of another without the latter reciprocating. In such a situation, the cost of learning is borne by one group, whereas the benefit is enjoyed by both. This paper first argues that, in the absence of any cost-sharing device, such situations are unjust. Next, it critically examines four potential criteria of linguistic justice, each of which offers a distinct answer to the question of (...) how to allocate between two linguistic groups the cost of one of them learning a second language. Criteria suggested by Church and King, Jonathan Pool and David Gauthier are spelled out and rejected in favour of a criterion of equal ratios of benefit to cost. Lastly, the paper sketches some policy implications concerning what is owed by English natives to the rest of mankind as a result of English being adopted as a worldwide lingua franca. Key Words: bilingualism linguistic diversity minority rights public goods globalization David Gauthier. (shrink)
Utopian thinking consists of formulating proposals for radical reforms, justifying them on the basis of normative principles combined with the best possible scientific analysis of the root causes of the problems the proposals are meant to address, and subjecting these proposals to unindulgent critical scrutiny. Such utopian thinking is indispensable, and contributing to it is part of sociology’s core business. This article illustrates these claims by considering one particular utopian proposal: an unconditional basic income paid to every member of society (...) on an individual basis, without means test or work requirement. It summarizes the main arguments that support this proposal, mentions a number of contexts in which it is being taken seriously, and sketches a number of ways in which sociological insights and research are crucially relevant to the discussion of the economic and political sustainability of an unconditional basic income. (shrink)
Non, l'invective et l'exégèse ne sont pas les seuls registres de la philosophie politique. Il n'est pas nécessaire, pour être pertinent, de se faire pamphlétaire, pas plus qu'il n'est requis, pour être respectable, de se muer en interprète. Il existe une autre manière de faire de la philosophie politique, qui répond aux interpellations du monde sans renoncer aux exigences de l'esprit. L'objectif premier de ce livre est de la montrer à l'œuvre. Pour atteindre cet objectif, Philippe Van Parijs présente ici (...) les références incontournables de la philosophie politique anglo-saxonne contemporaine, dont il est lui-même un des protagonistes. Il en situe les classiques, de Rawls et Nozick à Dworkin et Gauthier. Il en décrit les principaux courants de l'utilitarisme ordinal au marxisme analytique. Et il en explique les notions fondamentales, de la Pareto-optimalité au critère de non-envie, du maximum à la cluse lockéenne, du théorème d'impossibilité d'Arrow à la théorie de l'exploitation de Roemer. Mais surtout, il adopte lui-même la démarche pour laquelle il plaide. Il avance des thèses et en critique d'autres, élucide des controverses, résout des paradoxes, réfute des objections - tout cela en adoptant, face aux libertariens comme aux marxistes, aux libéraux comme aux communautariens, une attitude de sympathie critique qui permet le dialogue sans bannir les convictions. Au-delà d'une présentation dense, claire et compétente des théories contemporaines de la justice, ce livre constitue une initiation vivante et engagée à la pratique de la philosophie politique d'aujourd'hui. (shrink)
'The evaluation and ranking of our universities and their departments is here to stay. Should we oppose them, denounce them, sabotage them as much as we can? Or can and should we use them, refashion them, expand them, in such a way that our universities end up fulfilling their various functions better than before, without worsening our lives or those of our students in the process?' These were the questions put to the keynote speakers and over one hundred participants at (...) the 7th Ethical Forum of the University Foundation. As usual, the speakers presented contrasting viewpoints and the discussion was lively. The text below is a much expanded version of the personal conclusions formulated at the end of the Forum by its coordinator. (shrink)
In this article, the author formulates five hypotheses why frugality makes sense: as facilitating happiness; as a condition for realizing justice; as a personal asset; as a Pareto improvement; as a requirement for distributive justice.
. If one is committed to a “Rawlsian” conception of justice, is one not also necessarily committed to a “Christian” personal ethics? MOE explicitly, if one believes that social justice requires the maximinning of material conditions, should one not use one's time and resources as well as one can in order to assist the poorest? The paper offers a very partial answer to these questions by arguing for the following two claims: Contrary to what is implied by some egalitarian critics (...) of Rawls, the idea of a well‐ordered society does not require maximin‐guided choices at the individual level, and hence leaves room for legitimate incentive payments. Despite Rawls's own neglect of this fact, a limited form of patriotism does constitute an individual “natural duty” following from a commitment to maximin social justice. (shrink)