Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Property owning democracy

"What, then, makes property-owning democracy distinct from welfare state capitalism? The distinction is to be found in the relative weight accorded in importance to “after-the-fact” social transfers relative to alterations in the distribution of property in achieving a relatively egalitarian economy. Welfare state capitalism aims at providing an economic baseline as well as certain public goods (education, health care, housing) to all citizens; this is achieved primarily through redistributive taxation (what Rawls terms transfers). Property-owning democracy also aims to provide an economic baseline to the “least well off,” but it has a further goal as well: preventing large concentrations of wealth and dispersing ownership of property as widely as possible. One might say that welfare state capitalism simply wants to provide a social baseline at the bottom, whereas property-owning democracy also wants to put limits on accumulation at the top, thereby narrowing overall inequality from both directions (top and bottom). Moreover, property-owning democracy is also concerned to engage in redistribution in additional dimensions: i.e., not just the redistribution of income characteristic of welfare state capitalism, but also the redistribution of wealth and capital assets (as well as ensuring a more equitable distribution of human capital)" from Property-Owning Democracy and Demands of Justice via Dan Little posts.

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