Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 287–299 | Cite as

Rawls’ Paradox

  • Jason BrennanEmail author
Original Paper


Rawls’ theory of justice is paradoxical, for it requires a society to aim directly to maximize the basic goods received by the least advantaged even if directly aiming is self-defeating. Rawls’ reasons for rejecting capitalist systems commit him to holding that a society must not merely maximize the goods received by the least advantaged, but must do so via specific institutions. By Rawls’ own premises, in the long run directly aiming to satisfy the difference principle is contrary to the interests of the poor, though it is meant to aid them.


John Rawls  Publicity  Economic growth  Political economy 

JEL Classification

P16 P17 P27 P51 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Political Theory ProjectBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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