© 2020

If You’re a Classical Liberal, How Come You’re Also an Egalitarian?

A Theory of Rule Egalitarianism


Part of the Palgrave Studies in Classical Liberalism book series (PASTCL)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Åsbjørn Melkevik
      Pages 3-34
  3. On Justice

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 35-35
    2. Åsbjørn Melkevik
      Pages 67-94
  4. On Freedom

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 95-95
    2. Åsbjørn Melkevik
      Pages 125-151
  5. On Taxes

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 153-153
    2. Åsbjørn Melkevik
      Pages 155-177
    3. Åsbjørn Melkevik
      Pages 179-206
  6. On Exchanges

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 207-207
    2. Åsbjørn Melkevik
      Pages 209-235
    3. Åsbjørn Melkevik
      Pages 237-264
  7. Conclusion

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 265-265
    2. Åsbjørn Melkevik
      Pages 267-280
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 281-306

About this book


Classical liberalism has wrongly been regarded as an ideology that rejects the welfare state. In this book, Åsbjørn Melkevik corrects this common reading of the classical liberal tradition by introducing a theory of “rule egalitarianism”. Not only is classical liberalism compatible with social justice, but it can also help us understand why some egalitarian endeavours are an essential feature of a market society. If a necessary link exists between the classical liberal tradition and the moral and institutional dimensions of the rule of law, then this tradition is bound to uphold a substantial form of social justice. Coherence requires that classical liberals like Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman adopt an authentic egalitarian program. They should ameliorate poverty and limit inequality not merely out of prudence or collective self-interest, but for the natural justice of ongoing social cooperation as well as for the impartiality of market institutions.


Market Institutions Social Justice in the Liberty Tradition Egalitarian Limits to Markets Basic Income Guarantee Market Valuation Economic Rights Model of Default Fairness

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of MontrealMontrealCanada

About the authors

Åsbjørn Melkevik is a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center of Research in Ethics at the University of Montreal. He has been a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and an exchange fellow at Tel Aviv University. He received his Ph.D. in political studies from Queen’s University and specializes in political theory and business ethics.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title If You’re a Classical Liberal, How Come You’re Also an Egalitarian?
  • Book Subtitle A Theory of Rule Egalitarianism
  • Authors Åsbjørn Melkevik
  • Series Title Palgrave Studies in Classical Liberalism
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Studies in Classical Liberalism
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Economics and Finance Economics and Finance (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-37907-0
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-37910-0
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-37908-7
  • Series ISSN 2662-6470
  • Series E-ISSN 2662-6489
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIX, 306
  • Number of Illustrations 1 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Social Choice/Welfare Economics/Public Choice/Political Economy
    Economic Policy
    Political Theory
    Political Philosophy
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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