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date: 15 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Many workers are unjustly harmed by the work they do: their confidence in their abilities and even their abilities may be undermined because their work is too simple and they work under constant supervision and command. John Rawls’s political liberalism may criticize such work arrangements as undermining the internal psychological resources required for democratic citizenship, invoking values of freedom and equality implicit in democratic culture. Criticism of stultifying work can also be grounded in a view of the human good as entailing development of complex abilities, contribution of human abilities to a larger community, and earning esteem for those contributions. The second, more “perfectionist,” approach is superior to the Rawlsian approach: it provides a simpler argument and avoids the impossibility of marrying a market economy to egalitarian principles.

Keywords: Rawls, political liberalism, democratic citizenship, contributive justice, perfectionism, work, human good.

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