The much debated relations between Rawls and classical utilitarianism are always studied through the kantian face. However, historically, we have to compare Pareto and Rawls so as to understand the rawlsian criticism to utilitarianism. The history of original position stresses the mutual disinterest and not the veil of ignorance. This respect of individual interests is a paretian point. Besides, the rawlsian and paretian critics to Bentham are based on the same arguments. But to build a theory of justice, a sort of common measure is necessary, and this idea is not paretian. The study of the Pareto and Rawls’ relation about classical utilitarianism has to underline this difference and try to explain it. We will suggest the following idea. This sort of common measure is the counterpart of the kantian desire. On the debate about Rawls and utilitarianism, the two notions are in the heart of interpretations.
Rawls, Pareto, utilitarism
JEL Classification: A13 ; B20