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January 31, 2005

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» What Do You Deserve? from The Fly Bottle
Chris Dillow usefully collects a number of pertinent Hayek quotes regarding the debate about income and desert. I think it's useful to clearly reiterate what Hayek's argument about the connection between distibution and overall moral desert really is. ... [Read More]

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Blimpish

That second quote's the key one - my recollection is that Hayek was very wary (in a way that his political followers sometimes aren't) of discrediting the liberal economic order by insisting that its outcomes were just.

But you're right - it's a bit of a strawman. Only the odd (in both ways) Randian would insist that all fruits of capitalist production are just. For Hayek, the question is more one of efficiency (i.e., market distribution on the whole contributes to prosperity) and politics (i.e., intrusive and arbitrary redistribution is inimical to liberty).

dearieme

I deserve my income in the sense that I play the game by the rules: I don't mug old women or otherwise use coercion, I don't run cartels or monopolies, or evade my taxes, or set my own pay to loot my shareholders. (I'm not sure that our MPs could make the equivalent boasts.)

I don't deserve my income in the sense that it is no sign of moral merit in me that I happen to have gifts that allow me to earn the income that I do.

No prob: all you have to do is elevate the discussion of "deserve" above the level of the primary school playground.

Robert Schwartz

Is Ms. Anderson a dominatrix? Does she beat her customers with whips and tell them they are worthless vile wimps who deserve nothing, not even to lick her feet? Does she look hot in a leather corset?

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