Social Contract

Equality in an Era of Responsibility

Professor Roemer, Professor of Political Science and Economics, Yale University, argues that Rawlsian veil-of-ignorance thought experiments will not produce the recommendations that egalitarians desire, and that a more direct and non-contractarian approach must be taken to integrate responsibility into egalitarian theory.

The Social Contract Revisited

The aim of this programme is to establish the theoretical and institutional underpinnings that characterize the reciprocal rights and obligations amongst citizens and between the citizens and the state in modern liberal society. 
 
It does so through the notion of a social contract, a concept which once featured prominently in classic legal and political theory, as a means of reassessing the relationship between the individual and the state.

Empirical and Normative Claims in Social Contract Arguments

This report provides both a record and a critical assessment of the first workshop of the Foundation for Law, Justice and Society Programme on The Social Contract Revisited: The Modern Welfare State. The workshop was held in Oxford on 18-20 April 2007.
 
The purpose of the workshop was to unveil the main normative principles that lie at the foundations of social contract thinking and to construct a workable relationship between them and modern welfare state constraints. In doing so, participants and discussants have addressed facets and developing trends of which both the social contract and the welfare state have to take account. These include membership (gender, race, immigrants), privatization, globalization, aging of the population, and various demographic changes.

The Contract for Income Support and Pensions in the Modern Welfare State

This report is intended to provide both a record and a critical assessment of the second workshop of the Foundation for Law, Justice and Society’s programme, The Social Contract Revisited: The Modern Welfare State. The workshop was held in Oxford, 10–12 October 2007.

the ideal of pensions at 60 per cent of pre-retirement income no longer seems feasible for many countries. How much should systems be striving for, and how much is realistic?

 

Plucking the Goose: The Role of Taxation in the Modern Social Contract

This report is intended to provide both a record and a critical assessment of the third workshop of the Foundation for Law, Justice and Society’s programme on The Social Contract Revisited: The Modern Welfare State. The workshop was held in Oxford on 23rd to 25th April 2008.
 
The third workshop of the programme The Social Contract Revisited: The Modern Welfare State dealt with questions of taxation and distributive justice. Though many writers on welfare focus exclusively on spending, surprisingly few have written on just takings, that being left to tax scholars and libertarian constitutional law scholars.
 
A complete account of the social contract demands attention not only to what the state must provide, but also to the financial burden these provisions entail and the way they will be funded. This is one good reason for investigating taxation within the scope of the analysis.
 

The art of taxation consists in plucking the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least amount of hissing

Jean Baptiste Colbert, Finance Minister to Louis XIV

Work, Employment, and Industrial Relations in the Social Contract

This report provides both a record and a critical assessment of the fourth workshop of the Foundation for Law, Justice and Society’s programme, The Social Contract Revisited. The workshop was held in Oxford on 29–31 October 2008 and dealt with work, employment, and industrial relations in the modern social contract. 

Despite efforts by Conservative governments to weaken the power and influence of unions, the key elements of industrial pluralism remained in place until they were fundamentally undermined by the new vision that was offered by Blair's New Labour
 

The Social Contract Revisited: The Modern Welfare State

This report summarizes the three-year programme investigating the social contract and the modern welfare state. It provides an overview of social contract theory and a history of its evolution over the last century, as it is used to inform welfare policy by governments in various parts of the world, including Scandinavia, Latin America, the UK and the United States.

The report asssess how the social contract impacts on institutions such as the famliy, education, health, and civil society, before addressing specific recent challenges such as globalization, economic austerity measures, and the effect of an ageing population on pension provision.
 
By examining the tax system and analysing possible alternatives such as a spending tax or basic income, the report addresses the challenges faced by policymakers to create a fair, affordable welfare system, and lays out a framework through which social contract theory can help us to reach a better understanding of an equitable welfare state.
 
 

Adjudicating Socio-Economic Rights

A report of a workshop held in Oxford in June 2008.
Recently, the social contract has been seen as a device for identifying the moral principles that ought to govern relations both amongst the members of society, and between the members of the society and their government. There is more emphasis placed here on the positive moral principles that ought to govern the political arena.