skip to content »

Equity and welfarism accommodating political commit

We investigate whether any of these objections offers a convincing reason against enactment of a social minimum.Section 4 offers a brief conclusion to our discussion. We shall refer to this set of institutions and policies as a “social minimum policy regime”.

These statements all express a widespread view that a political community should seek to ensure that its members are all able to enjoy at least a minimally decent standard of living.The aim here is to provide a guide through the terrain of these controversies. Firstly, in section 1, we look more closely at the question, “What is a social minimum?” This section introduces a number of basic distinctions that will serve to clarify the discussion.The early theory was based on the assumption that the economic actions of individuals are largely based on self-interest (invisible hand) and that allowing them to act without any restrictions will produce the best results for everyone (spontaneous order), provided that at least minimum standards of public information and justice exist.For example, no one should be allowed to coerce, steal, or commit fraud and there is freedom of speech and press.To the vast majority of American classical liberals, however, laissez-faire did not mean no government intervention at all.

On the contrary, they were more than willing to see government provide tariffs, railroad subsidies, and internal improvements, all of which benefited producers.

They assert the importance of what is often called the .

However, the exact nature of the social minimum, the considerations that support it, and, indeed, its basic justifiability, are all matters of intense philosophical controversy.

Ordoliberalism and various schools of social liberalism based on classical liberalism include a broader role for the state, but they do not seek to replace private enterprise and the free market with public enterprise and economic planning.

For example, a social market economy is a largely free market economy based on a free price system and private property, but it is supportive of government activity to promote competitive markets and social welfare programs to address social inequalities that result from market outcomes.[A]t the center of classical liberal theory [in Europe] was the idea of laissez-faire.

As part of the task of clarification in this section, we review some of the main philosophical issues posed by these definitions.