Ethics and Economics 4:01-24 (2006)

Authors
Jos Philips
Utrecht University
Abstract
This paper proposes a theory of the good life for use in answering the question how much money the rich should spend on fighting poverty. The paper moves from the abstract to the concrete. To begin with, it investigates various ways to get an answer to the question what is good, and finds itself drawn to objective theories of the good. It then develops, taking Bernard Williams and Martha Nussbaum as its guides, a broad outline of a theory of the good. It holds that something evil happens to people if they do not have a real choice from a reasonable number of projects that realize most of their key capacities to a certain degree, and in connection to this it points to the great importance of money. The paper goes on specifically to consider what criticisms of Nussbaum's version of the capability approach are implied in this outline of a theory of the good. Next, it gets more specific and asks how much money the rich can give -and how they can be restricted in spending their money- without suffering any evil. It does three suggestions: the tithe suggestion, the ecological suggestion, and the fair trade suggestion. To conclude, the paper returns to the question how much money the rich should spend on fighting poverty.
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