Francis Y. Edgeworth on Utility - Dictionary of Arguments
Rawls I 170
Benefits/Politics/Edgeworth/RawlsVsEdgeworth/Rawls: the argumentation of Edgeworth (F. Y. Edgeworth, Mathematical Psychics, London, 1888, pp. 52-56; F. Y. Edgeworth "The Pure Theory of Taxation", Edonomic Journal, vol 7,1897.) can be modified to justify almost any political norm.
Edgeworth thesis: under certain reasonable assumptions, it is rational for self-interested parties to agree with the principle of utility in assessing social policy, because the political process is not a competitive market. That is why, according to Edgeworth, we need the Utility Principle as a criterion.
He seems to think that in the long run, the policy of maximizing benefits will prevail in order to generate the greatest benefit for each individual. Appropriate application on tax legislation and property regulation should bring about the best results from everyone's point of view.
RawlsVsEdgeworth: the error is that the assumptions required for this are extremely unrealistic. (Here, I use an argument against Edgeworth from I. M. D. Little, Critique of Welfare Economics, 2nd ed. Oxford, 1957): We must assume that the impact of decisions on political processes is not independent and can therefore never be very large, because otherwise they would not be independent.
In order for the various benefits to be distributed randomly, people would either have to live for a very long time and change their positions by chance, or there would have to be a legislative mechanism guided by the average principle which distributes the benefits equally in the long term. However, society is not a stochastic process that takes place in this way._____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Francis Ysidro Edgeworth
Mathematical Psychics: An Essay on the Application of Mathematics to the Moral Sciences London 1881
A Theory of Justice: Original Edition Oxford 2005