- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Rawls is Trickledown

Posted by: Stoller on December 14, 1999 at 10:23:38:

In Reply to: Rawls vs. Trickledown posted by Nikhil Jaikumar on December 13, 1999 at 17:28:33:

Let us look at your prior statement regarding Rawlsian justice:

Rawls advocates whatever society maximizes the standard of living of teh most destitute. In my opinion, that's another way of ruling out any inequalities other than those which are absolutely necessary to boost social production to teh point where the poor get more. In other words, just enough to get peopel to produce more, and nothing above that limit. that means no capitalist ownership, no luxuries whatsoever, nO privilege. For my part, I regard socialism as whatever acheives the best deal for teh most destitute- and that woudl be what Rawls describes. I don't see how you,a s a Marxist, can stand for anyything otherthan teh best imaginable deal for the working class.

First off, let's get it out in the open that AT NO TIME Rawls ever endorses socialism.

Following Rawls, you accept any inequalities 'which are absolutely necessary to boost social production to teh point where the poor get more.'

Let us consider the implications of this provision.

Would not 'inventors,' and business men demand higher incomes to develop ways to 'boost social production to the point where the poor get more'? Is not that concession the 'profit motive' itself? Does not Rawls OMIT the entire social division of labor problem from his program BY conceding that 'some' people may be able to affect the social production ITSELF in MORE salient ways than others?

You claim that Rawls' program posits 'no capitalist ownership, no luxuries whatsoever, nO privilege'---yet nowhere in his writings is that point EVER made explicit. No, Rawls beats around the bush---market socialism is as far as he's willing to go---about income discrepancies---AND private property. His thinking is permeated with the acceptance of the social division of labor---and that creates, in addition to income inequalities, power inequalities.

His program is 'benevolent' trickledown.

I say to hell with that.

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