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postgraduate thesis: Rawlsian justice and welfare-state capitalism

TitleRawlsian justice and welfare-state capitalism
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Chiu, YLam, WF
Issue Date2014
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Yuen, H. [袁浩然]. (2014). Rawlsian justice and welfare-state capitalism. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5351047
AbstractRawls emphasizes in his later writings that his theory of justice as fairness is not a defense of welfare-state capitalism. He argues that welfare-state capitalism cannot be an acceptable regime for justice as fairness because its ideal institutional description fails to satisfy the two principles of justice in various ways. Against Rawls, I argue in this thesis that his rejection of welfare-state capitalism is not justified. I begin by clarifying an ambiguity regarding what arrangements and policies according to Rawls are essential to satisfy the two principles of justice through closely studying the institutional arrangements of property-owning democracy and liberal socialism—the two regimes thought by Rawls as capable of fully satisfying the two principles of justice. After that, I show that the fundamental reason behind Rawls’s rejection of welfare-state capitalism is his assumption that welfare-state capitalism does not aim to realize justice as fairness. I argue that this assumption held by Rawls is not justified because the essential institutional features of welfare-state capitalism can be compatible with the arrangements and policies necessary to satisfy the principles of justice. I also argue that if Rawls’s assumption regarding the aim of welfare-state capitalism cannot stand, he should not rule out welfare-state capitalism as an acceptable regime for justice as fairness. Finally, I examine different arguments that provide alternative reasons to justify Rawls’s rejection of welfare-state capitalism. I argue that all of them are unsuccessful because they either are based on problematic interpretations of the two principles of justice or fail to conclusively rule out welfare-state capitalism. By showing that welfare-state capitalism can be an acceptable regime for justice as fairness, this thesis proves that a just society does not need to be the one that entitles every citizen to a substantive right to own real capital. Also, in the process of arguing for welfare-state capitalism, this thesis also indirectly contributes to the recent debates between Rawlsians on the left and right over the proper interpretations of the first principle of justice and the Difference Principle.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectCapitalism - Political aspects
Social justice - Philosophy
Dept/ProgramPolitics and Public Administration
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/208012

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorChiu, Y-
dc.contributor.advisorLam, WF-
dc.contributor.authorYuen, Ho-yin-
dc.contributor.author袁浩然-
dc.date.accessioned2015-02-06T14:19:34Z-
dc.date.available2015-02-06T14:19:34Z-
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.identifier.citationYuen, H. [袁浩然]. (2014). Rawlsian justice and welfare-state capitalism. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5351047-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/208012-
dc.description.abstractRawls emphasizes in his later writings that his theory of justice as fairness is not a defense of welfare-state capitalism. He argues that welfare-state capitalism cannot be an acceptable regime for justice as fairness because its ideal institutional description fails to satisfy the two principles of justice in various ways. Against Rawls, I argue in this thesis that his rejection of welfare-state capitalism is not justified. I begin by clarifying an ambiguity regarding what arrangements and policies according to Rawls are essential to satisfy the two principles of justice through closely studying the institutional arrangements of property-owning democracy and liberal socialism—the two regimes thought by Rawls as capable of fully satisfying the two principles of justice. After that, I show that the fundamental reason behind Rawls’s rejection of welfare-state capitalism is his assumption that welfare-state capitalism does not aim to realize justice as fairness. I argue that this assumption held by Rawls is not justified because the essential institutional features of welfare-state capitalism can be compatible with the arrangements and policies necessary to satisfy the principles of justice. I also argue that if Rawls’s assumption regarding the aim of welfare-state capitalism cannot stand, he should not rule out welfare-state capitalism as an acceptable regime for justice as fairness. Finally, I examine different arguments that provide alternative reasons to justify Rawls’s rejection of welfare-state capitalism. I argue that all of them are unsuccessful because they either are based on problematic interpretations of the two principles of justice or fail to conclusively rule out welfare-state capitalism. By showing that welfare-state capitalism can be an acceptable regime for justice as fairness, this thesis proves that a just society does not need to be the one that entitles every citizen to a substantive right to own real capital. Also, in the process of arguing for welfare-state capitalism, this thesis also indirectly contributes to the recent debates between Rawlsians on the left and right over the proper interpretations of the first principle of justice and the Difference Principle.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshCapitalism - Political aspects-
dc.subject.lcshSocial justice - Philosophy-
dc.titleRawlsian justice and welfare-state capitalism-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5351047-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplinePolitics and Public Administration-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5351047-

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