Can libertarians care about social justice? In Free Market Fairness, John Tomasi argues that they can and should. Drawing simultaneously on moral insights from defenders of economic liberty such as F. A. Hayek and advocates of social justice such as John Rawls, Tomasi presents a new theory of liberal justice. This theory, free market fairness, is committed to both limited government and the material betterment of the poor. Unlike traditional libertarians, Tomasi argues that property rights are best defended not in terms of self-ownership or economic efficiency but as requirements of democratic legitimacy. At the same time, he encourages egalitarians concerned about social justice to listen more sympathetically to the claims ordinary citizens make about the importance of private economic liberty in their daily lives. In place of the familiar social democratic interpretations of social justice, Tomasi offers a "market democratic" conception of social justice: free market fairness. Tomasi argues that free market fairness, with its twin commitment to economic liberty and a fair distribution of goods and opportunities, is a morally superior account of liberal justice.
Free market fairness is also a distinctively American ideal. It extends the notion, prominent in America's founding period, that protection of property and promotion of real opportunity are indivisible goals. Indeed, according to Tomasi, free market fairness is social justice, American style. Provocative and vigorously argued, Free Market Fairness offers a bold new way of thinking about politics, economics, and justice--one that will challenge readers on both the left and right.
John Tomasi is professor of political science at Brown University, where he is also the founder and director of Brown's Political Theory Project. Tomasi holds degrees in political philosophy from the University of Oxford and the University of Arizona. He has held visiting fellowships and positions at Princeton, Harvard, and Stanford universities, and at the Freedom Center at the University of Arizona. He is the author of Liberalism Beyond Justice (Princeton).
Acknowledgments ix Introduction xi Chapter 1: Classical Liberalism 1 Property and Equality 1 Market Society 6 America 11 Hayek 16 Classical Liberalism 22 Chapter 2: High Liberalism 27 Property or Equality 27 The Decline of Economic Liberty 32 Rawls 37 The Libertarian Moment 46 Liberalismus Sapiens Sapiens 51 Chapter 3: Thinking the Unthinkable 57 The Great Fact: Economic Growth 57 Populism, Probability, and Political Philosophy 60 Economic Liberty and Democratic Legitimacy 68 Endings, and Beginnings, Too 84 Chapter 4: Market Democracy 87 The Conceptual Space 87 Breaking Ice 99 Market Democracy as a Research Program 103 Institutions 106 The Challenges to Market Democracy 118 Chapter 5: Social Justicitis 123 The Distributional Adequacy Condition 123 Hit Parade: Property and the Poor 127 Hayek's Critique 142 Benadryl for Free-Marketeers 151 Chapter 6: Two Concepts of Fairness 162 Warming up to Market Democracy 162 Applying the Theory 172 The Argument Ipse Dixit 177 Justice as Fairness: Status or Agency? 180 Chapter 7: Feasibility, Normativity, and Institutional Guarantees 197 The Twilight of Left Liberalism? 197 Realistic Utopianism 203 Aims and Guarantees 215 Chapter 8: Free Market Fairness 226 The Difference Principle 226 Fair Equality of Opportunity 237 Political Liberty 247 Generational, Environmental, and International Justice 254 Free Market Fairness as a Moral Ideal 264 Conclusion 267 Notes 273 Bibliography 315 Index 333