The economics of Rawlsian justice: can it be neoclassical?
AbstractPurpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the compatibility of Rawls's account of justice with neoclassical economic theory, upon which Rawls relies strongly. Design/methodology/approach – This question is approached via a comparison of the implicit account of society and social relations adopted in Rawl's work with that that can be perceived to underly neoclassical economic theory. The purpose of this comparison is to assess how compatible these social visions are. Findings – It is argued that neoclassical economic theory presupposes a social structure and a social reality that is radically less cooperative than that which underpins Rawls's theory of justice. Rawls presupposes a world in which cooperation is necessary – a specialised world – whereas the equilibrium requirements of neoclassical theory run into severe technical difficulties in such a context, with the result that they are assumed away via a series of theoretical contrivances, along with the role for cooperation that is central to Rawls's theory. Research limitations/implications – The paper illustrates clearly the pitfalls associated with uncritical reliance in one discipline on theoretical frameworks imported from another. Where there is debate concerning the fundamental bases of theory, a form of sensitivity analysis must be performed to ensure that the final argument does not demand too much of, or become excessively tied to, the imported framework. Originality/value – The paper provides the beginnings of such a sensitivity analysis on the Rawlsian project and its relationship to economic theory, and shows that the field is open for a reconstitution of the liberal theory of justice on grounds other than its traditional ally, the exchange paradigm as represented by neoclassical theory.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal International Journal of Social Economics.
Volume (Year): 39 (2012)
Issue (Month): 8 (July)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.emeraldinsight.com
Postal: Emerald Group Publishing, Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley, BD16 1WA, UK
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Sen, Amartya, 1981. "Ingredients of Famine Analysis: Availability and Entitlements," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 96(3), pages 433-64, August.
- Sen, Amartya K, 1977. "Starvation and Exchange Entitlements: A General Approach and Its Application to the Great Bengal Famine," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 33-59, March.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Virginia Chapman).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.