Rawlsian justice and the 'property-owning democracy': a destructive symbiosis?

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Meade’s concept of a “property-owning democracy” (PropDem) proved influential in the development of Rawls’s arguments for his theory of justice, eventually coming to represent the definitive non-socialist form of the Rawlsian just society. Despite this role in a seminal work of moral and political philosophy scant detail is provided by either author regarding the institutional characteristics of a PropDem. More importantly, it appears to have gone unnoticed by Rawls and those who have cited Meade approvingly that he proposed the PropDem as a response to imagined future circumstances (extensive automation of production) rather than the situation in any extant society. These imaginary characteristics of the PropDem play a crucial role in underpinning Rawls’s agnosticism on the relationship between justice and property rights over the means of production; the circumstances facing actual societies may compel consideration of the property rights question as part of the determination of the principles of justice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEssays in heterodox economics
Subtitle of host publicationproceedings, refereed papers
EditorsP. Kriesler, M. Johnson, J. Lodewijks
Place of PublicationSydney, NSW
PublisherSociety of Heterodox Economists, University of New South Wales
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9780733424175
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventAustralian society of heterodox economists conference (5th : 2006) - Sydney
Duration: 11 Dec 200612 Dec 2006


ConferenceAustralian society of heterodox economists conference (5th : 2006)


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