Social Theory and Practice

Volume 41, Issue 3, July 2015

Rafeeq Hasan
Pages 477-504

Rawls on Meaningful Work and Freedom

In this article, I criticize Rawls’s well-ordered society for failing to secure a right to meaningful work. I critically discuss five technical Rawlsian ideas: self-respect, social union, the difference principle, the powers and prerogatives of office, and fair equality of opportunity. I then claim that radical restructuring of the workplace conflicts with Rawls’s individualistic understanding of freedom. Briefly drawing on Hegel, an under-recognized historical influence on Rawls, I then correct Rawls by arguing for a conception of freedom that is internally related to broader solidaristic values associated with meaningful work.