Southwest Philosophy Review

Volume 40, Issue 1, January 2024

Akira Inoue
Pages 127-136

Rawls’s Efficiency

The purpose of this paper is to show the plausibility of John Rawls’s treatment of efficiency within the system of justice. While in political philosophy efficiency is often treated as an independent condition for establishing justice, or more precisely, as a necessary condition for establishing justice, Rawls considers efficiency as a non-negligible factor that has normativity in general circumstances. This is similar to the view that efficiency is a presumptive condition for evaluating social arrangements. However, Rawls’s view is salient in a more substantive way. This paper demonstrates the salience of Rawls’s view of efficiency by responding to G. A. Cohen’s Impure Justice Objection to Rawls’s theory of justice. This shows that there is no impure connection between Rawls’s justice and efficiency. Moreover, the combined thesis of Rawls’s justice and efficiency is superior to Cohen’s pluralist theory of justice, making it a fruitful approach.