Social Contract

How to Equalize Opportunities

A policymaker wishes to choose a policy, from a set of possible policies, that will equalize opportunities among a group of individuals for the acquisition of some desirable outcome; for example, wage-earning capacity or life expectancy.
Precisely what does it mean to equalize the opportunities that individuals in this group face for acquisition of the objective in question?

'Loyalty Benefits' and the Welfare State

‘Loyalty benefits’ are transfer payments designed to motivate or reward citizens for serving the state, either tangibly or symbolically. Classic examples are benefits to soldiers and civil servants, and today, special benefits granted to political refugees.
But like the trademark social insurance schemes invented by conservative welfare states, loyalty benefits may also be used as a way of reinforcing status barriers between groups, including ethnic hierarchies embodied in the collective identity projects of states.

Towards a Global Social Contract: The Challenge of Hard Times

Global inequality has risen in recent years, even in circumstances where aggregate growth rates have risen.

In the recent global recession, developed nations have strengthened their own safety nets while cutting development assistance to poor nations. This approach reflects a response to the genuine needs of these countries’ own citizens, but it has ignored the compelling claims of people outside of the boundaries of the wealthy nations.
Thus, the policy question confronting wealthy nations is not whether those nations should join with poor nations in a new global social contract. Rather, it is how this new contract can respond to the claims of the citizens of both rich and poor nations to decent lives and secure futures.
Several methods of cross-class political dialogue can guide wealthy democracies as their social contracts shift toward a global approach.

The Social Contract in Hard Times

This report and series of policy briefs emanate from a workshop held in Oxford in October 2009, in which political scientists and legal experts examine the impact of recent hard times on the social contract.
The issues are addressed from a range of perspectives, including measures for effective redistribution through social welfare programmes in Europe, loyalty benefits in the Middle East, and the need for a global social contract to encompass Africa and the developing world.

The current economic crisis has created a unique opportunity to push forward health insurance that has failed every Democratic president in America since Harry Truman.


Beyond the Third Way in Labour Law: Towards the Constitutionalization of Labour Law?

Professor Hugh Collins, London School of Ecomomics, argues that New Labour, not the Thatcher government, was responsible for the real break from the political settlements of the Trade Disputes Act 1906, which established collective bargaining as a primary guarantee of social justice.

Transformative Constitutionalism and Socio-Economic Rights

This keynote lecture from Chief Justice Pius Langa, Chief Justice of South Africa, opened our two-day workshop on Adjudicating Socio-Economic Rights, and addressed the relationship between the entrenchment and enforceability of socio-economic rights in South Africa.
Chief Justice Langa argued that the Constitution is best understood as a manifesto for positive transformation towards an equal society.