Equity and welfarism accommodating political commit
We investigate whether any of these objections offers a convincing reason against enactment of a social minimum.
Section 4 offers a brief conclusion to our discussion. We shall refer to this set of institutions and policies as a “social minimum policy regime”.
We define a “social minimum” as that bundle of resources which suffices in the circumstances of a given society to enable someone to lead a minimally decent life.
We define a “social minimum policy regime” as a set of policies and institutions that serve to secure reasonable access to this social minimum for all members of the society.
The aim here is to provide a guide through the terrain of these controversies. Firstly, in section 1, we look more closely at the question, “What is a social minimum?
” This section introduces a number of basic distinctions that will serve to clarify the discussion.
The early theory was based on the assumption that the economic actions of individuals are largely based on self-interest (invisible hand) and that allowing them to act without any restrictions will produce the best results for everyone (spontaneous order), provided that at least minimum standards of public information and justice exist.
In section 3, we then turn specifically to the critics of enactment, posing the question “What can be said against enactment of a social minimum?
” We consider three sets of objections that appeal respectively to the values of individual freedom, fairness, and legitimacy.
The objections are helpful in thinking about the form the social minimum should take and about the political procedures surrounding its enactment.
Arguments in favor of economic liberalism were advanced during the Enlightenment, opposing mercantilism and feudalism.
It was first analyzed by Adam Smith in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776) which advocated minimal interference of government in a market economy, although it did not necessarily oppose the state's provision of basic public goods.