tha d w i l l ia m s on In Justice as Fairness, John Rawls clearly poses "property-owning democracy" as an alternative to capitalism.1 But because Rawls never followed through with a full-blown account of the political and economic institutions of a property-owning democracy, there has been some disagreement among subsequent commentators about whether the idea of distributing wealth and capital broadly is to be understood as a system distinct from social democratic modalities of capitalism, or alternatively as a reform strategy within what Rawls terms "welfare state capitalism." Complicating this question is the fact that as a practical matter, movement towards creating a property-owning democracy, even if motivated by the desire to create a systemic alternative to capitalism, almost certainly must begin in large measure precisely as a reform strategy within existing forms of welfare state capitalism (be it the neoliberal Anglo-American model or more social democratic continental versions). In this essay, I explore that question by relating it to two alternative ways of thinking about how to build a just (or "more just") society: the "emancipatory social science" proposed by neo-Marxist sociologist Erik Olin Wright in his recent book Envisioning Real Utopias and the "comparative"
The Good Society – Penn State University Press
Published: Jul 25, 2012
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