On the Possibility of Paretian Egalitarianism

Journal of Philosophy 102 (3):126 - 154 (2005)
We here address the question of how, for a theory of justice, a concern for the promotion of equality can be combined with a concern for making people as well off as possible. Leximin, which requires making the worst off position as well off as possible, is one way of combining a concern for making people’s lives go well with a special concern for those who are especially poorly off. Many egalitarians, however, reject its near-monomaniacal focus on the worst off position (to the exclusion of other poorly off persons). In this paper, we explore the possibility of combining a weak kind of egalitarianism with a weak kind of efficiency requirement in a way that avoids leximin’s obsession with the worst off position. For example, one may consider solving all cases where efficiency is not at issue by choosing the alternative that is most equal according to the Gini-coefficient or some other well-established inequality measure. All standard inequality measures sometimes judge an alternative as more equal than another alternative even though the latter maximizes the benefits of the worst off. Thus it may seem like a promising way of avoiding the leximin approach within an egalitarian framework. Surprisingly, given certain generally accepted assumptions, this turns out to be impossible. The only possible way of combining weak egalitarianism with weak efficiency requires, we shall show, the rejection of a widely accepted—but perhaps dubious—contraction consistency condition on justice or the acceptance of some version of the leximin principle
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0022-362X
DOI 10.5840/jphil200510234
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,803
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Equality-Tempered Prioritarianism.D. Dorsey - 2014 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 13 (1):45-61.
Hierarchical Consequentialism.Re'em Segev - 2010 - Utilitas 22 (3):309-330.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
The Metaphysical Case for Luck Egalitarianism.Carl Knight - 2006 - Social Theory and Practice 32 (2):173-189.
Egalitarianism Reconsidered.Daniel M. Hausman & Matt Sensat Waldren - 2011 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 8 (4):567-586.
The Impossibility of a Paretian Loyalist.Peter Gärdenfors & Philip Pettit - 1989 - Theory and Decision 27 (3):207-216.
The Incompleteness of Luck Egalitarianism.Ryan Long - 2011 - Social Philosophy Today 27:87-96.
Brute Luck Equality and Desert.Peter Vallentyne - 2003 - In Sabrina Olsaretti (ed.), Desert and Justice. Clarendon Press.
In Defence of Global Egalitarianism.Carl Knight - 2012 - Journal of Global Ethics 8 (1):107-116.
Reconsidering the Value of Equality.Iwao Hirose - 2009 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (2):301-312.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
44 ( #122,431 of 2,202,718 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #97,530 of 2,202,718 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature