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The equality of the differences: Sen's critique of Rawls's theory of justice and its implications for welfare economics


  • Reiko Gotoh

    () (Hitotsubashi University - Institute of Economic Research)


This paper shows that the conversion of the index of inequality from social primary goods to capabilities, which implies an extension of informational basis, changes the core of Rawls’s theory of justice in the formulation of both the «difference principle» and the «original position». The capability approach proposed by Sen introduces a perspective that goes beyond ‘welfarism’ and moves towards realizing a kind of equality which respects as equal all individuals with different disadvantages. It gears the methodology of the theory of justice so as to place injustice or hard cases at the centre of the theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Reiko Gotoh, 2014. "The equality of the differences: Sen's critique of Rawls's theory of justice and its implications for welfare economics," History of Economic Ideas, Fabrizio Serra Editore, Pisa - Roma, vol. 22(1), pages 133-156.
  • Handle: RePEc:hid:journl:v:22:y:2014:1:7:p:133-156

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