John Rawls (1921–2002) was an American political philosopher. His most well-known contribution to the literature was his theory of justice as fairness. He provided one of the most profound critiques of utilitarian welfare/policy analysis that permits, in principle, sacrificing the welfare of some groups for aggregate economic gains. Although Rawls did not address the issue of poverty directly, a Rawlsian welfare analysis is primarily concerned with the situation of the least well-off members of society. Roughly speaking, those who make less than half of the median income, Rawls indicated, could be considered to fall into this segment. This is below the European but slightly above the American poverty threshold. Rawlsian theory points to areas in which the causes of poverty should be sought and provides ...

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