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Good idea, and I generally agree.  However, I think you are mis-defining just a bit, but perhaps with significant implications, the Rawlsian objective, particularly with respect to the utilitarian view.

If I recall correctly, the Rawlsian problem is not maximizing the welfare of the worst off.  Rather,in its most strict form, it is maximizing the sum of everyone's welfare, such that (1) no one is made worse off and (2) the least well-off see some increase in welfare.  A less restrictive Rawlsian specification relaxes the first condition, but only when there are no possibilities for improving the welfare of the least without reducing the welfare of others.  That is, it's not fair to take from the rich to give to the poor unless it's the only possible way to avoid reducing the well-being of the poor.

This is a bit different from simply maximizing the welfare of the least well off and makes pinning down what we mean by the "quasi" part of your definition a bit more important.

by santiago on Fri Oct 1st, 2010 at 04:22:22 PM EST
Your target is more of the utilitarian kind (thanks for the tip: it's not utilitarist, that's the French word...).

I guarantee you that Rawls asks for the condition of the worst off to be maximised. I read A Theory of Justice, and you may look it up in the Wikipedia entry if you wish.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Oct 1st, 2010 at 04:46:09 PM EST
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You're right.  Rawls advocates "maximin" in Theory of Justice, which is the same as advocating complete equality to the extent possible.  What I described was a Rawlsian strategy for  solving utilitarian negotiation problems.
by santiago on Sun Oct 3rd, 2010 at 06:52:20 PM EST
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