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Free Market Fairness$
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John Tomasi

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691144467

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691144467.001.0001

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Feasibility, Normativity, and Institutional Guarantees

Feasibility, Normativity, and Institutional Guarantees

(p.197) Chapter 7 Feasibility, Normativity, and Institutional Guarantees
Free Market Fairness

John Tomasi

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers John Rawls' conception of ideal theory, with particular emphasis on the implications of problems of feasibility for normative political philosophy and market democracy's institutional guarantees. It defends Rawls' general view of ideal theory, first by explaining why the objection to market democracy—that even if market democratic institutional forms appear attractive in theory, they are unlikely to deliver the goods in practice and so are defective for that reason—has little force when applied against the idealism of left liberalism. It then examines why such arguments are equally ineffective when trained against the idealism of free market fairness. It also analyzes Rawls' idea of “realistic utopianism” before concluding by asking whether market democratic regimes that treat economic liberty as constitutionally basic can realize all the requirements of justice as fairness.

Keywords:   ideal theory, John Rawls, feasibility, market democracy, institutional guarantees, left liberalism, free market fairness, realistic utopianism, economic liberty, justice as fairness

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