Background Justice over Time: Property-Owning Democracy versus a Realistically Utopian Welfare State

Analyse & Kritik 35 (1):193-212 (2013)


In Justice as Fairness, Rawls presents a case for property-owning democracy which heavily depends on a favourable comparison with welfare state capitalism. He argues that WSC, but not POD, fails to realise ‘all the main political values expressed by the two principles of justice’. This article argues that Rawls’s case for POD is incomplete. He does not show that POD is superior to other conceivable forms of WSC. In order to present a serious contender, I sketch what I call a realistically utopian welfare state that guarantees the fair equality of political liberties and opportunity and that maximises the situation of the worst-off via a kind of participation income. The main aim of the article is to give credibility to the claim that RUWS is not obviously worse than POD by Rawlsian standards and therefore deserves a fair hearing in further research

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