- Capitalism and Alternatives -

A few words on Rawls (notes here)

Posted by: Stoller on November 03, 1999 at 13:02:50:

In Reply to: A foreign body in Socialism, a partical that just drifted in and embedded itself. posted by Lark on November 01, 1999 at 17:02:56:

: I mean consider the state from a truly egalitarian point of view and you cant have it, it's a source of rank and privilege like the market, the only possible way in which it can be justified is by the Rawlsian theory that all inequalities that serve the very least in society (EG by providing motivation to progress or resulting from that necessary to functionality) must be tolerate[d] while reduced, I mean we should even be suspicious of the necessary inequality.

Now, while I'd be the first to admit that the 'Original Position' is a useful theoretical device, let it be clear that Rawls was a VERY QUALIFIED 'egalitarian':

While the distribution of wealth and income need not be equal, it must be to everyone's advantage, and at the same time, positions of authority and offices of command must be accessible to all.(1)

Interesting how inequality gets in the back door!

That sounds just like any 1776 commonplace, does it not?


It will be recalled that the general conception of justice as fairness requires that all primary social goods be distributed equally unless an unequal distribution would be to everyone's advantage.(2)

Rawls grants an 'unequal distribution' of power and money to anyone---as long as some kind of improvement goes to the poorest sections of society. Not dissimilar to the trickle-down swindle...

I would not champion Rawls as a utopian socialist hero if I were you. He's a damn liberal---the American variety, no less.


BTW, the 'state' is what would keep the bourgeoisie from EXTERMINATING the proletariat should they attempt to implement wide-scale socialism...


1. Rawls, A Theory of Justice, Harvard University Press 1971, pp. 61.
2. Ibid., p. 150, emphasis added.

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