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Liberal Egalitarianism and the Harm Principle

  • Michele Lombardi


    (University of Surrey)

  • Roberto Veneziani


    (Queen Mary, University of London)

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 [12]. 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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Paper provided by Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance in its series Working Papers with number 649.

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Date of creation: Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:wp649
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