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Liberal Egalitarianism and the Harm Principle

  • Michele Lombardi
  • Roberto Veneziani

This paper analyses Rawls's celebrated difference principle, and its lexicographic extension, in societies with a finite and an infinite number of agents. A unified framework of analysis is set up, which allows one to characterise Rawlsian egalitarian principles by means of a weaker version of a new axiom - the Harm Principle - recently proposed by [13]. This is quite surprising, because the Harm principle is meant to capture a liberal requirement of noninterference and it incorporates no obvious egalitarian content. A set of new characterisations of the maximin and of its lexicographic refinement are derived, including in the intergenerational context with an infinite number of agents.

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File URL: http://gcoe.ier.hit-u.ac.jp/research/discussion/2008/pdf/gd09-078.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series with number gd09-078.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
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Handle: RePEc:hst:ghsdps:gd09-078
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