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Neil Hibbert

This paper examines the prospects for social justice in a democratic community that is justified through the idea of contractual exchange as a cooperative scheme for mutual advantage. Common assumptions concerning the narrow institutional range of the mutual advantage framework are argued against, clearing away certain tensions between exchange and markets and equality and the welfare state. However, it is maintained that the principle of equality must further condition institutional formation beyond efficiency to satisfy the requirements of social justice. It is further advanced that the interest-based motivation in the idea of efficient exchange can be maintained in an egalitarian framework, when the shared interests and expectations of citizenship constitute an equal political baseline, from which universal social entitlement can be justified.