A random quote game from Econlib

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This looks a candid paraphrase of that part of Rawls's theory which ought to lead to his "contract situation," i.e. to cause the parties in the state of nature (who are assumed to be self-interested, non-altruistic and non-envious) to solicit each other to negotiate a social contract, a sort of omnilateral super-contract ranking above and, in case of conflict, overriding bilateral contracts. Even before starting to wonder about what might be the next step, the substantive content ("the principles of justice") of the social contract, it is pertinent to ask how to create a "contract situation" if someone, whether or not fortunately situated, declines to see the point of negotiating at all? Can this not happen? Can he not argue, (a) that he is doing all right as it is, and will not try to do better under a social contract at the risk of having to accept to do worse? and (b) that the moral position to take about the justice of social arrangements (of which the division of labour is one) is for everybody to keep his word, whether or not it would be to his advantage to go back on it?

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