This chapter discusses a number of political theories that start from the assumption that the primary purpose of politics is to promote human interests, happiness or welfare. In particular they regard government as an agency with a distinctive and general responsibility for ensuring that those who are subject to it enjoy as many of life’s advantages as possible. While some of these theorists argue that this responsibility entails an active and positive role for government in, for example, distributing material goods, this is not a necessary feature of this perspective on politics. As we shall see, in some cases it is thought that the most important contribution that government can make to general welfare is to guarantee a framework of human interaction in which individuals can pursue their own conception of their own best interests.
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- Politics, Happiness and Welfare
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- Chapter 4