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Liberal egalitarianism and workfare

Bou-Habib, P and Olsaretti, S (2004) 'Liberal egalitarianism and workfare.' Journal of Applied Philosophy, 21 (3). 257 - 270. ISSN 0264-3758

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In this paper we ask whether liberal egalitarians can endorse workfare policies that require that welfare recipients should work in return for their welfare benefits. In particular, we focus on the fairness-based case for workfare, which holds that people should be responsible for their own welfare since they would otherwise impose unfair costs on others. Two versions of the fairness-based case are considered. The first defends workfare on the grounds that it would form part of an unemployment insurance scheme that individuals would endorse under certain hypothetical conditions that are salient for the purposes of determining just public policy. The second appeals to the notion of reciprocity in order to justify the requirement that people work for their benefits. We cast doubt on both of these arguments for workfare. Neither argument shows that the unconditional provision of welfare benefits is unjust; hence, the fairness case for workfare is inconclusive.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Peter Josse
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2015 18:56
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2021 18:15

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