Research report

Paternalism in social policy: when is it justifiable?

5 Jan 2011
Description

This paper argues that paternalist policies may be considered justifiable under circumstances where high stakes decisions are involved, the decisions being made by individuals are irreversible and it is possible to identify failures in people’s reasoning.

It is further argued that if paternalist interventions are able to be justified in terms of people’s own values and preferences, then this adds weight to their acceptability given that they do not undermine people’s autonomy.  

Relatively little scholarly attention has been devoted to the questions of what particular forms of paternalism may be deemed to be appropriate. The paper suggests that the principles of discrimination, proportionality, accountability and efficacy provide a framework with which to consider the appropriateness or otherwise of various forms of paternalist intervention.

 

Publication Details
Published year only: 
2011

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