Chapter 1: Introduction to Neoliberal Social Justice
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What sort of social institutions, in practice, represent Rawlsian commitments to free and equal citizenship and distributive justice? Many philosophers believe that the answer must be either liberal socialism or a property-owning democracy based on the radical redistribution of wealth. However, the Rawlsian case for socialism is generally made without considering two key realistic challenges to human sociability identified by F.A Hayek and James Buchanan among others: the knowledge problem and the incentive problem. Applying the framework of robust political economy to this question allows us to compare potential solutions under realistic conditions. In such scenarios, the more familiar institutions of capitalism and constitutional liberal democracy may be better aligned with Rawlsian commitments than socialism. This reveals unexpected common ground between Rawls and Hayek.