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2003

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Ethics and Political Philosophy

Work-based welfare reform

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Social Welfare, Human Dignity, And The Puzzle Of What We Owe Each Other, Amy L. Wax Dec 2003

Social Welfare, Human Dignity, And The Puzzle Of What We Owe Each Other, Amy L. Wax

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Proponents of work-based welfare reform claim that moving the poor from welfare to work will advance the goals of economic self-reliance and independence. Reform opponents attack these objectives as ideologically motivated and conceptually incoherent. Drawing on perspectives developed by luck egalitarians and feminist theorists, these critics disparage conventional notions of economic desert, find fault with market measures of value, debunk ideals of autonomy, and emphasize the pervasiveness of interdependence and unearned benefits within free market societies. These arguments pose an important challenge to justifications usually advanced for work-based welfare reform. Reform proponents must concede that no member of society can ...