Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 339–353

A Preference-Utilitarian Foundation for the Generality Principle

  • Niclas Berggren

DOI: 10.1023/A:1009070916284

Cite this article as:
Berggren, N. Constitutional Political Economy (1999) 10: 339. doi:10.1023/A:1009070916284


The generality principle advocated by Buchanan and Congleton (1998), stating that only legislation which treats all citizens equally as citizens is permissible, is normally motivated on contractarian grounds. It is shown that the generality principle can also be motivated on preference-utilitarian grounds. This is in line with Hayek (1960), who defends the rule of law by reference to consequentialist considerations. Using Hare's (1981) terminology, on a critical level we realize that everyday political decisionmaking tends to generate rash and non-general outcomes and that a rule limiting the action space of politicians can induce a higher degree of total preference satisfaction.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niclas Berggren
    • 1
  1. 1.The City University of StockholmStockholmSweden

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