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Liberalism, Childhood and JusticeEthical Issues in Upbringing$
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Tim Fowler

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781529201635

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529201635.001.0001

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Priority, Not Equality, of Welfare

Priority, Not Equality, of Welfare

(p.43) 5 Priority, Not Equality, of Welfare
Liberalism, Childhood and Justice

Timothy Fowler

Timothy Fowler

Policy Press

In this chapter I consider various possible distributive principles, that assess what a fair distribution of welfare would look like. I reject the principle of distributive equality because equality favours levelling down, making the lives of some people go worse while making no one’s life go better. In place I adopt the priority view, which suggests that the concern of justice should be promoting the welfare of the least advantaged children. I then consider the sufficiency principle, which holds that justice is about securing each person ‘enough’ and is unconcerned with advantages above this threshold. I argue that this sufficiency view should be rejected, even in its more plausible moderate forms, but that it does provide a useful intermediary role in working out what are the implications of prioritarianism.

Keywords:   Levelling down, prioritarianism, sufficiency

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