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A sort of Paretian liberalism

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  • S. Subramanian
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    Abstract

    This paper reviews Amartya Sen's well-known result on 'the impossibility of a Paretian liberal'. In so doing, it takes stock of certain difficulties associated with conventional social choice theoretic formulations of the notion of individual liberty. An alternative formulation, in the spirit of an 'outcome-oriented' version of Nozick's approach to individual liberty as the freedom to fix certain personal features of the world, is advanced. An 'extended' version of a conventional social choice function, called a 'social selection function' (SSF), is introduced: the domain of the SSF is enlarged to include, apart from preference profiles, what are called 'personal choice profiles' and 'rights-waiving profiles'. Within this framework, it is noted that a version of Sen's original impossibility result can be recovered. It is also pointed out that there is an alternative, ethically plausible construction that can be placed on the notion of 'Paretian liberalism', and it is demonstrated that this is a coherent construction.

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    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09638190600871628
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development.

    Volume (Year): 15 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 311-324

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:jitecd:v:15:y:2006:i:3:p:311-324

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    Related research

    Keywords: Minimal liberalism; Gibbard liberalism; preference profiles; personal choice profiles; rights-waiving profiles; social choice function; social selection function; Paretian liberalism;

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    1. Gaertner, Wulf & Pattanaik, Prasanta K & Suzumura, Kotaro, 1992. "Individual Rights Revisited," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 59(234), pages 161-77, May.
    2. Basu, Kaushik, 1984. "The Right to Give up Rights," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 51(204), pages 413-22, November.
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