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date: 26 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article elucidates some of the core ethical arguments surrounding welfare states. It addresses the concept of need and the principles of equality. It also looks at arguments surrounding the implications of the welfare state for liberty. Furthermore, some new normative issues likely to move to the forefront of debate in the future are mentioned. One important issue concerns immigration policy and its implications for the welfare state. Another important issue not addressed here is that of intergenerational justice. This issue is of obvious importance in considering pension policy. The philosophical issues discussed in this article largely reflect an agenda of debate shaped by the politics of the welfare state retrenchment and reconstruction which began in the 1980s.

Keywords: ethical arguments, welfare states, need, equality, liberty, immigration policy, intergenerational justice

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