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The Paradoxes of the Liberal Ethics of Non-interference

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  • Marco Mariotti

    ()
    (University of St Andrews)

  • Roberto Veneziani

    ()
    (Queen Mary, University of London)

Abstract

We analyse the liberal ethics of non-interference applied to social choice. Two liberal principles capturing non-interfering views of society, inspired by J.S. Mill's conception of liberty are examined, which capture the idea that society should not penalise agents after changes in their situation that do not affect others. Two paradoxes of liberal approaches are highlighted. First, it is shown that a restricted view of non-interference, as reflected in the Individual Damage Principle, together with some standard axioms in social choice leads straight to welfare egalitarianism. Second, it is proved that every weakly paretian social welfare ordering that satisfies a general principle of noninterference must be dictatorial. Both paradoxes raise important issues for liberal approaches in social choice and political philosophy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Queen Mary, University of London, School of Economics and Finance in its series Working Papers with number 653.

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Date of creation: Dec 2009
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Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:wp653

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Keywords: Liberalism; Noninterference; Equality; Impossibility;

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  1. Lombardi, Michele & Miyagishima, Kaname & Veneziani, Roberto, 2013. "Liberal Egalitarianism and the Harm Principle," MPRA Paper 48458, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Marco Mariotti & Roberto Veneziani, 2009. "‘Non-interference’ implies equality," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 123-128, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Michele Lombardi & Roberto Veneziani, 2009. "Liberal Egalitarianism and the Harm Principle," Working Papers 649, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  2. Marco, Mariotti & Roberto, Veneziani, 2012. "Opportunities as chances: maximising the probability that everybody succeeds," MPRA Paper 41884, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. José Alcantud, 2013. "Liberal approaches to ranking infinite utility streams: when can we avoid interference?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 381-396, July.
  4. Mariotti, Marco & Veneziani, Roberto, 2013. "On the impossibility of complete Non-Interference in Paretian social judgements," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(4), pages 1689-1699.

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