Is the Welfare State Justified?

by

In this book, Daniel Shapiro argues that the dominant positions in contemporary political philosophy - egalitarianism, positive rights theory, communitarianism, and many forms of liberalism - should converge in a rejection of central welfare state institutions. He examines how major welfare institutions, such as government-financed and -administered retirement pensions, national health insurance, and programs for the needy, actually work. Comparing them to compulsory private insurance and private charities, Shapiro argues that the dominant perspectives in political philosophy mistakenly think that their principles support the welfare state. Instead, egalitarians, positive rights theorists, communitarians, and liberals have misunderstood the implications of their own principles, which in fact support more market-based or libertarian institutional conclusions than they may realize. Shapiro's book is unique in its combination of political philosophy with social science. Its focus is not limited to any particular country; rather it examines welfare states in affluent democracies and their market alternatives.
  • Cambridge University Press; July 2007
  • ISBN 9780511292828
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Is the Welfare State Justified?
  • Author: Daniel Shapiro
  • Imprint: Cambridge University Press

In The Press

'This is a marvellous, unusual book. It's one of the few attempts in political philosophy that go beyond examining what principles of justice require, by investigating whether contemporary institutions designed to produce those outcomes actually do better than realistic alternatives.' Jeffrey Friedman, editor of Critical Review