From the point of view of the theory of justice, this paper analyses how the social policies define the moral formation of a people. Based on the links between public ethics and human formation it defines the moral trends of the conception of the social minimum. It highlights the form of public action deriving from social justice, which is presented as a formulary for the social policies in free market societies. It then criticizes the moral basis of the Brazilian social policies which propose to guarantee individual autonomy through the social minimum. It presents some conceptions of social justice compatible with capitalism and the public policies they entail, and shows that neoliberalism and communitarianism have a similar conception of the role of public policies in the moral formation for individual autonomy and social responsibility. It eventually points out ethical-political impacts and impasses, for human formation, of fashioning the Brazilian social policies according to a neoliberal pattern.
Human formation; Public ethics; Social policy