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Philippe Van Parijs on Social Minimum - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 126
Social Minimum/Van Parijs/Gaus/Mack: (...)each person has the greatest possible opportunity to do whatever she might want to do (leximin opportunity) (1995(1):25). As Van Parijs explains, this last condition requires that 'in a free society, the person with least opportunities has opportunities that are no smaller than those enjoyed by the person with the least opportunities under any other feasible arrangement' (1995(1): 25). And this in turn leads to the requirement that a
society provides the highest sustainable basic income for all (...)
RawlsVsVan Parijs: see Rawls 2002(2): 179.
Van Parijs: (...) the equalization of external endowments that drives redistribution: if someone produces without using resources in scarce supply she has the right to her full product,
but because production always requires such resources, his basic income proposal does not lead
to exploitation of the industrious. fruits of Green labour.
Coincidence: Van Parijs's intuition is that luck must be irrelevant to justice (1995: 160): if
some have managed to actually produce while others have tried and failed because of bad luck or
natural adversities (see also Steiner, 2001)(3), they have a claim on those who do produce.
Gaus I 127
Traditional liberalismVsVan Parijs/Gaus: this is not an intuition shared by the liberty tradition (Rand, 1957)(4). It violates doctrinal commitment (...) of the liberty tradition against seizure of the fruits of another's labour, a commitment that, unsurprisingly, Van Parijs rejects (1995(1): 145ff). Moreover, Van Parijs's position seems to illustrate how violations of [the] commitment (...) also compromise persons' claims to self-sovereignty (...).


1. Van Parijs, Phillipe (1995) Real Freedom for All: What (If Anything) Can Justify Capitalism? Oxford: Clarendon.
2. Rawls, John (2002) Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, ed. Erin Kelly Cambridge, MA: Belknap.
3. Steiner, Hillel (2001) 'The ethics of redistribution'. Acta Philosophica Fennica, 68: 37-45.
4. Rand, Ayn (1957) Atlas Shrugged. New York: Dutton.


Mack, Eric and Gaus, Gerald F. 2004. „Classical Liberalism and Libertarianism: The Liberty Tradition.“ In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Van Parijs, Philippe
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004


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