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Social justice, free market style

21 May 2012
John Tomasi on free market fairness in creating social justice

In this Juncture video interview, the eminent US political scientist John Tomasi explains his idea of ‘free market fairness’. It is a notion that he has developed to bridge the divide between left and right over notions of economic liberty and social justice.

For Tomasi, the material condition of the poor is important and he believes a system is fair to them if it delivers ‘the largest possible bundle of real wealth that might be procured for the least fortunate, consistent with respecting the rights of other citizens’.

'Unlike traditional libertarian views, free market fairness recognises that this may call for a government safety net to assist those genuinely in need. But free market fairness insists that we tread cautiously here. In seeking to benefit the least well-off, we must take care to do so in ways that also protect their autonomy as citizens. What’s most important, as a matter of moral ideal, is not simply that the less fortunate have things, but that they have those things as a result of their own economic agency.'

Download John Tomasi’s full essay for Juncture.