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The Paradoxes of the Liberal Ethics of Non-interference

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Mariotti & Roberto Veneziani, 2009. "The Paradoxes of the Liberal Ethics of Non-interference," Working Papers 653, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:wp653
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    File URL: http://www.econ.qmul.ac.uk/media/econ/research/workingpapers/archive/wp653.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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. repec:wly:econjl:v:126:y:2016:i:597:p:2173-2196 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:79:y:1985:i:04:p:1135-1151_23 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Marco Mariotti & Roberto Veneziani, 2009. "‘Non-interference’ implies equality," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 32(1), pages 123-128, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. José Alcantud, 2013. "Liberal approaches to ranking infinite utility streams: when can we avoid interference?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 41(2), pages 381-396, July.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Marco, Mariotti & Roberto, Veneziani, 2012. "Opportunities as chances: maximising the probability that everybody succeeds," MPRA Paper 41884, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. repec:wly:econjl:v:126:y:2016:i:597:p:2173-2196 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Liberalism; Noninterference; Equality; Impossibility;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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