Politics, Philosophy and Economics 3 (3):313-335 (2004)

Ronald Dworkin’s argument for resource egalitarianism has as its centerpiece a thought experiment involving a group of shipwreck survivors washed ashore on an uninhabited island, who decide to divide up all of the resources on the island equally using a competitive auction. Unfortunately, Dworkin misunderstands how the auction mechanism works, and so misinterprets its significance for egalitarian political philosophy. First, he makes it seem as though there is a conceptual connection between the ‘envy-freeness’ standard and the auction, when in fact there is none. Second, he fails to appreciate how idealized the conditions are that must be satisfied in order for his results to obtain. This leads him to draw practical conclusions from the thought experiment that do not follow, such as his claim that the principle of equality generates a presumption in favor of the market as a mechanism for the distribution of resources. The result is that Dworkin saddles resource egalitarianism with a set of commitments that are, in fact, inessential to that view
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DOI 10.1177/1470594X04046244
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Assessing Ideal Theories: Lessons From the Theory of Second Best.David Wiens - 2016 - Politics, Philosophy, and Economics 15 (2):132-149.
The Benefits of Cooperation.Joseph Heath - 2006 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 34 (4):313-351.
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Ideal Theory in an Nth-Best World: The Case of Pauper Labor.Joseph Heath - 2013 - Journal of Global Ethics 9 (2):159 - 172.
Defining the Duty to Contribute: Against the Market Solution.Markus Furendal - 2017 - European Journal of Political Theory 18 (4):469-488.

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