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Goodbye to Rawls

New Labour has abandoned a redistributive, social democratic idea of justice without putting anything in its place. John Gray suggests borrowing from the early 20th century New Liberals

By John Gray   November 1997

What’s wrong with inequality? New Labour is not sure. It has given up the old social democratic view without yet formulating a new one. In its economic policies and its recognition of the need to reform the welfare state, Blair’s government is clear that it aims to establish a successor to the postwar settlement. It has not yet succeeded in developing a conception of social justice which fully matches the needs and aspirations of Europe’s first post-social democratic society. New Labour continues to defer to ideals of equality in which it does not truly believe. Until it has shed these…

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