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The Liberal Ethics of Non-Interference and the Pareto Principle

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  • Marco Mariotti

    ()
    (University of St Andrews)

  • Roberto Veneziani

    ()
    (Queen Mary University of London)

Abstract

We analyse the liberal ethics of noninterference applied to social choice. A liberal principle capturing noninterfering views of society and inspired by John Stuart Mill's conception of liberty, is examined. The principle captures the idea that society should not penalise agents after changes in their situation that do not affect others. An impossibility for liberal approaches is highlighted: every social decision rule that satisfies unanimity and a general principle of noninterference must be dictatorial. This raises some important issues for liberal approaches in social choice and political philosophy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews in its series Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics with number 201404.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2014
Date of revision: 01 Apr 2014
Handle: RePEc:san:wpecon:1404

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Keywords: Liberalism; Harm Principle; Non-Interference; Impossibility;

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  1. Michele Lombardi & Roberto Veneziani, 2009. "Liberal Egalitarianism and the Harm Principle," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd09-078, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  2. Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 2001. "Any Non-welfarist Method of Policy Assessment Violates the Pareto Principle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 281-286, April.
  3. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Liberty, Unanimity and Rights," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 43(171), pages 217-45, August.
  4. Marc Fleurbaey & Philippe Mongin, 2004. "The News of the Death of Welfare Economics is Greatly Exaggerated," Working Papers hal-00242931, HAL.
  5. Amartya Sen, 1999. "The Possibility of Social Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 349-378, June.
  6. Sen, Amartya, 1992. "Minimal Liberty," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 59(234), pages 139-59, May.
  7. Robert Sugden, 1993. "Rights: Why do they matter, and to whom?," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 127-152, December.
  8. 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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