Presentation: The Mirage of Social Justice

  • João Carlos Espada
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series


F. A. Hayek’s views on social and economic rights, as well as on many others issues, are quite clear and straightforward. He unequivocally maintains that:

The old civil rights and the new social and economic rights cannot be achieved at the same time but are in fact incompatible; the new rights could not be enforced by law without at the same time destroying that liberal order at which the old civil rights aim.1

The reasoning that underpins this alleged incompatibility is based on two main statements: (1) there is an accusation of ‘vagueness and abstraction’ directly addressed towards the UN Declaration,2 which would only decree rights without caring to know how and by whom they would be enforced; (2) there is the assumption that, if these new rights were to give rise to effective duties ascribed to effective agents, the results would be the destruction of the liberal order that allowed traditional rights to flourish and the destruction of the material wealth which is associated with that order.


Social Justice Market Order Free Society Liberal Society Spontaneous Order 
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Copyright information

© João Carlos Espada 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • João Carlos Espada
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Social SciencesUniversity of LisbonPortugal

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