Abstract: John Rawls' A Theory of Justice represented a rare intellectual event. It advanced a fresh, detailed and powerful conception of political economy, and rooted that conception in an elaborately worked out political and moral philosophy. Rawls' two principles of justice, with the celebrated maximin standard of distributive justice, represent the point of departure for any serious discussion of this subject. The details of Rawls' proposal are too well known to require summary. Instead, I shall call attention to the basic premise of his work and to a significant anomaly in it, as setting the stage for my own proposal.