More on the Social Contract and health care reform

Two weeks ago, I blogged about a new paper I co-authored on the social contract and health care. It’s a little wonky, but Real Clear Policy interviewed friend/colleague/co-author Eric Meslin. Those of you who found the paper dense might enjoy the interview. Small excerpt:

What is the “social contract,” and what political message does it convey?

The social contract is an implicit understanding between people and the society in which they live about how society should be organized, how benefits are distributed, and how shared responsibilities are defined for all citizens. The beauty of the social contract is that it conveys many messages, not a singular one. It conveys the message of shared decisionmaking, but equally it conveys a political message of accountability and responsibility.

So, for example, a very liberal interpretation of the social contract is one that Rousseau talked about, in which society organizes itself according to the expectations that people have for human flourishing. Alternatively, the old Hobbesian social contract conveyed a political message of limited rights and freedoms. So, both the beauty and the frustration of using social-contract speak is that it can convey political messages across the entire spectrum, from the most conservative to the most progressive.

Go read the whole thing!


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