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Law in the Age of Pluralism$
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Andrei Marmor

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195338478

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195338478.001.0001

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The Intrinsic Value of Economic Equality

The Intrinsic Value of Economic Equality

Chapter:
(p.259) CHAPTER 12 The Intrinsic Value of Economic Equality
Source:
Law in the Age of Pluralism
Author(s):

Andrei Marmor (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195338478.003.0012

This chapter focuses on the value of economic equality. Harry Frankfurt and Joseph Raz, among others, have argued that economic equality is not intrinsically valuable. Their argument rests on the claim that what we should care about is the satisfaction of people's needs, not their relative position vis-à-vis others. If people have enough of what they need, it does not matter whether they have more or less than others. It is argued that economic equality is intrinsically valuable precisely because we should care about people's needs, mostly because sufficiency is profoundly relative to the possessions of others. The chapter begins by purporting to establish this basic relativity of needs; the second part explains why this is an argument for the intrinsic value of equality. Finally, it concludes with remarks on what principle of equality is justified by this argument, drawing on a distinction between two types of moral ideals.

Keywords:   Harry Frankfurt, Joseph Raz, people's needs, relativity of needs, moral ideals

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