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By John Gray

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22. Not all forms of targeting involve means-testing. Some involve categorisation by other factors such as age or disability, and do not necessarily carry the moral hazards of means-testing. A comprehensive welfare reform of the sort we undoubtedly need must recognise that different forms of allocation of benefits are appropriate, depending on the shared social understanding of the goods concerned, and on the consequences of their mode of allocation. Pluralism is unavoidable here too. 23. , 1995, Saturn’s children, London, Sinclair Stevens.

There is a sort of endemic moral scarcity which runs parallel with the finitude of resources. This is an implication – in my view a reality – that is deeply at odds with our inherited traditions of moral and political thinking. Talk of trade-offs and costs and benefits trivialises the fact that public policy inescapably involves making hard collective choices among genuine goods. Both welfare reform and tax reform encompass such choices. The distributional conflicts such choices entail are better understood in terms of the conflicting demands of fairness.

The elements of a liberal communitarianism are, I believe, to be found in the writings of Isaiah Berlin and Joseph Raz. , 1986, The morality of freedom, Oxford, Clarendon Press. 2. , 1995, Enlightenment’s wake: politics and culture at the close of the modern age, London, Routledge; ch. 10–12. 3. , 1995, 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. ,‘Come the revolution’, The Guardian, 23 October 1995. The Times, 20 July 1995. In a later article, Rees-Mogg endorses a sort of cyberspace anarchy as an alternative to any kind of national government.

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