Philosophical Studies 175 (2):277-300 (2018)

Authors
Govind Persad
University of Denver
Abstract
Technological and societal changes have made downward social and economic mobility a pressing issue in real-world politics. This article argues that a Rawlsian society would not provide any special protection against downward mobility, and would act rightly in declining to provide such protection. Special treatment for the downwardly mobile can be grounded neither in Rawls’s core principles—the basic liberties, fair equality of opportunity, and the difference principle—nor in other aspects of Rawls’s theory. Instead, a Rawlsian society is willing to sacrifice particular individuals’ ambitions and plans for the achievement of justice, and offers those who lose out from justified change no special solicitude over and above the general solicitude extended to all. Rather than guaranteeing the maintenance of any particular individual or group’s economic position, it provides all of its members—the upwardly mobile, the downwardly mobile, and the immobile—a form of security that is at once more generous and more limited: that they will receive the liberties, opportunities, and resources promised by the principles of justice.
Keywords Social mobility  Economic mobility  John Rawls  legitimate expectations  difference principle  equality of opportunity  automation  trade  social change
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Reprint years 2017, 2018
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-017-0867-8
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References found in this work BETA

Collected Papers. [REVIEW]Thomas E. Hill & John Rawls - 2001 - Journal of Philosophy 98 (5):269-272.
Taking People as They Are?Joshua Cohen - 2001 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 30 (4):363-386.
Capitalism in the Classical and High Liberal Traditions.Samuel Freeman - 2011 - Social Philosophy and Policy 28 (2):19-55.
First Steps Toward a Nonideal Theory of Justice.Marcus Arvan - 2014 - Ethics and Global Politics 7 (3):95-117.

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Citations of this work BETA

Distributive Justice and the Relief of Household Debt.Govind Persad - 2018 - Journal of Political Philosophy 26 (3):327-343.

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