This chapter explores the consequence of taking Rawls' concerns about the strains of commitment to their logical extreme. If there is no external enforcement at all, so that all agreements must be self-policing, it is shown that deals reached in the original position will generate an egalitarian outcome, as Rawls would wish. The conclusions are broadly consistent with the class of laboratory results that psychologists refer to as “modern equity theory”. The concept of an empathy equilibrium is used to predict the standard of interpersonal comparison needed to operate an egalitarian norm that will evolve in the medium run. The manner in which this standard should be expected to respond to need, effort, ability, and status is then explored.
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