In the course of destroying Sandel's wibbling about whether market transactions are fair or not Deirdre McCloskey explains what actually is this liberal bourgeois deal on offer:
Suppose that behind a veil of ignorance of where you or I would end up in some future system of markets and creative destruction, or their communitarian opposites, we are asked to decide what constitution we would agree to. Go ahead, choose: neo-liberal markets or communitarian interventions. Suppose, as in fact happened in Holland and then Britain in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, we pretty much agree to the Bourgeois Deal—you let me, a bourgeoise, make a fortune inventing the coffee trade or very cheap steel or a computer operating system, and in the third act of the economic drama I'll make you (all) rich by historical and international standards: $129 a day per person in the United States in 2010 as against $6 a day in the same prices in 1800 and $1.40 a day now in Zimbabwe and less in North Korea.
The Deal is not in the first act egalitarian, which is as far as Sandel's economic and philosophical analysis reaches. Yet by the third act it has been powerfully enriching for the poor, satisfying a Buchananite-Rawlsian standard of improving the lot of the worst off. The daily incomes per person in the average country that has agreed to the Bourgeois Deal has risen, in real, inflation-corrected terms, from an appalling $3 a day in 1800 (and likewise since the caves) to $100 a day now (thus the UK)—and much higher if one properly allows for the much higher quality since 1800 of travel and medicine and economic analysis.
And that is pretty much it. If we don't allow the creative destruction and the markets then the poor don't get rich. If we do they do. So if our aim is to allow the poor to get rich then we have to allow the markets and the creative destruction.
Which is of course where modern politics goes so howlingly wrong. We're told that we must be more communitarian precisely because not to be so is unfair to the poor. But how is keeping them poor fair? Which leads to the conclusion that if you are indeed of the left and wish to make the poor rich then you should be supporting markets and that creative destruction.
This is certainly where I come from: it's also where the left of the 18th and 19th centuries came from as well. It's the inspiration for the whole classical liberal economic viewpoint. Would I like those in Zimbabwe and N Korea to enjoy the same economics possibilities, even luxuries, as you and I do? I sure would, which is why I keep shouting that we want to have more markets and more creative destruction.
By the way, it's also possible to argue that inequality itself diminishes as we all do get richer. Sure, you can point to money incomes and note that the Gini has risen. But the old inequality was between those who could not afford to eat and those who ate 5,000 calories a day. Between those dressed in silks and those in rags, between mud hovels and mansions, 16 hour workdays and lives of ineffable luxury. Barring that tiny fraction with drug and mental health problems, all today eat, are clothed and housed and the only people slaving all God's Hours are the rich. It's very difficult to say that inequality has actually increased in any meaningful manner, money incomes be damned.