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Part 1B - Political Philosophy - Equality - Lecture 1 ... Part 1B Paper 7: Political Philosophy

Dec 07, 2018

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Part 1B Paper 7: Political Philosophy / Equality Lecture 1: Equality of What?

Chris Thompson cjt68@cam.ac.uk

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Overview of the lectures

1. Equality of what? Welfare and resources 2. Equality of what ? Opportunity 3. The value of equality 4. Rawls 5. Nozick 6. IncenLves and efficiency and PosiLve

DiscriminaLon

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Readings

*DWORKIN, R., What Is Equality? Part 2: Equality of Resources', Philosophy & Public Affairs, 10(4): 283-345.

ARNESON, R., 'Equality and Equal Opportunity for Welfare', Philosophical Studies, 56 (1989): 77-93.

COHEN, G.A., 'On the Currency of Egalitarian JusLce', Ethics, 99 (1989): 906-44.

DWORKIN, R., 'What Is Equality?: Part 1: Equality of Welfare, Philosophy & Public Affairs 10(3):

SEN, A., 'Equality of What? , Tanner Lectures on Human Values Vol.I (1980).

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Summary

1. The noLon of equality 2. Equality of welfare 3. Equality of resources

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Summary

1. The noLon of equality 2. Equality of welfare 3. Equality of resources

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1. The noLon of equality

Just like liberty, freedom and democracy, (most) people are in favour of equality (of some sort).

Equality is a contested concept (cf. liberty). Equality is a relaLonal noLon equality between whom?

Also need to specify what it is that we should equalise. Presumably we dont care about equality between people in all things then you get idenLty.

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1. The noLon of equality

Equality has important poliLcal and moral connotaLons: JusLce as equality before the law JusLce as democraLc equality: neutrality, anonymity.

Equality also has important connotaLons for distribuLonal jusLce*. Here we are interested in economic and social equality.

Why equality? we will deal with this quesLon later.

* Although we could argue that poliLcal and legal goods are distribuLonal in nature as well.

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1. The noLon of equality

If we fix the who quesLon to adult members of a given state, the equality of what? quesLon has a number of possible answers: Equality of welfare Equality of resources Equality of opportunity

For what goods, under what condiLons, is equality jusLfied? For what goods, under what condiLons, is inequality jusLfied?

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1. The noLon of equality

What might jusLfy unequal treatment: Property rights (Nozick) Disability (Rawls) Desert (Nozick) Efficiency (Rawls)

Later lectures

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Summary

1. The noLon of equality 2. Equality of welfare 3. Equality of resources

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2. Equality of welfare

Beliefs + Desires = Decisions

Higher order desires

Lower order desires

Autonomy

Acts

Outcomes

Constraints Liberty

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2. Equality of welfare

Beliefs + Desires = Decisions

Higher order desires

Lower order desires

Autonomy

Acts

Outcomes

Constraints Liberty

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2. Equality of welfare

PosiLve freedom is about how many doors are open to you. NegaLve freedom is about whether they are locked. Both posiLve and negaLve freedom are about the acLons

you do/ can take. Your welfare is enhanced when you find what you want

behind the doors.

Metaphor of the doors

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2. Equality of welfare

Welfare is the saLsfacLon of preferences. When you get the state of the world that you want.

When the outcomes are in line with your desires. AlternaLvely, welfare is a hedonisLc state. If we are asking equality of what?, then surely welfare is the what that we really care about.

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2. Equality of welfare

1. The problem of offensive tastes: Suppose you have a preference for something other people find distasteful e.g. harming animals. Why should others help you saLsfy such preferences?

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2. Equality of welfare

2. The problem of expensive tastes Suppose a father is wriLng a will and has three sons who may inherit his goods.

Alan has culLvated a taste for expensive wine and caviar.

Brian is happy with beer and chips. Carl has a physical disability that affects his mobility. The father may be happy to give more money to Carl, so that Carl and Brian have equality of welfare.

But why should the father give more money to Alan rather than Brian?

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Summary

1. The noLon of equality 2. Equality of welfare 3. Equality of resources

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Dworkin: a shipwreck and an island

Suppose a group of people are shipwrecked on an island with abundant resources.

The group agree that antecedently no one is enLtled to any parLcular piece of property.

Envy test no division of resources is equal if any immigrant would prefer some other immigrants bundle of resources to his own.

A single agent would not be able to divide up the resources adequately: A milking cow cannot be divided Some combinaLons of goods in bundles suit some rather than others

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3. Equality of resources

An aucLon

The soluLon is to have an aucLon. Everyone gets the same number of tokens (clam shells).

This serves as a metric for equality of resources. Every item (land, milking cows) is put up for aucLon. Bidders can ask that any porLon of a good (e.g. a

subdivision of land) be placed separately on the aucLon. The lots are then sold to the highest bidder. The envy test will be met. No one would prefer to have

someone elses bundle, because by hypothesis they had the opportunity to buy it.

No one will be unhappy with the make-up of their bundle, because they added items to it themselves.

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3. Equality of resources

Equality of resources vs. welfare

Someone can sLll think themselves unlucky: The island does not grow the fruits they like. A lot of people share the same tastes and so the bidding is intense

But these concerns relate to equality of welfare. Under equality of resources people must make choices in light of scarcity.

It is OK if our choices impact on others (we outbid them); we are not acLng unjustly, since equality has already been established.

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3. Equality of resources

Inequality again

Arer the aucLon has concluded, people can then get on with their lives, produce things, and trade.

The iniLal equal distribuLon of resources will quickly be disrupted: Some are more skilled producers than others. Some work harder than others. Some will get sick. Some will have their crops destroyed.

Before too long the envy test will no longer hold. As such, we no longer have equality of resources.

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3. Equality of resources

Luck

OpLon luck the result of how deliberate choices pan out. E.g. Which crop to plant.

Brute luck the result of risks that you do not deliberaLvely choose. E.g. The weather.

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3. Equality of resources

Luck

It seems fair to hold people responsible for opLon luck, but what about brute luck? If one farmer plants a crop that survives the storm, whereas another farmers crop is ruined, is the inequality in resources just?

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3. Equality of resources

Luck

It seems fair to hold people responsible for opLon luck, but what about brute luck? If one farmer plants a crop that survives the storm, whereas another farmers crop is ruined, is the inequality in resources just?

Insurance provides a link between opLon and brute luck. E.g. farmers have the opLon of purchasing insurance against adverse weather events.

We can suppose, for example, that sighted people can choose to purchase accident insurance during the iniLal aucLon. No need to redistribute.

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3. Equality of resources

DisabiliLes

But what about disabiliLes? You cant buy insurance against pre-exisLng condiLons.

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3. Equality of resources

DisabiliLes

But what about disabiliLes? You cant buy insurance against pre-exisLng condiLons.

HypotheLcal insurance market. Determine how much people would be prepared to pay for insurance against various condiLons. Fund the equivalent of this insurance via taxaLon.

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3. Equality of resources

A lack of talent

But what about those born with a lack of talent?

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3. Equality of resources

A lack of talent

But what about those born with a lack of talent? This is trickier. It is difficult to be precise about how much a lack of talent might be a disadvantage.

A hypotheLcal insurance market against the risk of not being a superstar would offer insurance that is bad value.

A hypotheLcal insurance market might produce good value products against being very disadvantaged. A minimum income guarantee?

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3. Equality of resources

Summary

So how does equality of resources (ala Dworkin) fare?

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3. Equality of resources

Summary

So how does equality of resources (ala Dworkin) fare?

The major problem with equality of welfare is people culLvaLng expensive tastes. The aucLon holds people responsible for their preference formaLon.

The hypotheLcal insurance markets place an upper limit on the amount of compensaLon due to people with disabiliLes or a lack of talent.

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3. Equality of resources

Next week

Equality