Refashioning Rawls as a true champion of the poor

Politikon 37 (1):149-171 (2010)
Rawls champions the cause of the poor because of his strong moral sentiments about the eradication of poverty. I present these sentiments, which he converts into normative elements of his theory of justice. However, the conceptual framework and intellectual resources that he uses to articulate these sentiments are inadequate. His sentiments against poverty cannot be accommodated neatly, simply, and coherently in his liberal theoretical framework. Also, I point out that his definition of the identification of poor people as the least advantaged members of society is not adequate. Therefore, his theory is refashioned so that it can properly account for the fundamental interests of poor people. An alternative conception is presented, revising Rawlsian liberalism to enable it to adequately champion the cause of the poor. I provide an alternative definition of poverty and apply Mill’s analysis of the relation between justice and utility to Rawls’ theory of justice.
Keywords Rawls  Justice  Poverty
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