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February 20, 2007



Matthew seems to be suggesting that art would have no place in an egalitarian society because it has no utilitarian value for the common man - thus, people in the "original position" should tolerate some inequality in order to create a "privileged group" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privileged_group ) for the provision of such public goods. This may be an argument against complete egalitarianism, but how does it contradict Rawls' principle?


" It's luck that such people happen to be thriving at a time when their talents are in demand. "

You can't really mean that? It would be luck if they were thriving far above any sensible measure of value generated and you can make a good case that that is indeed the case here.

But to say that it is luck to thrive when you are *in demand* is surely nonsense.

Rob Spear

Both the citizens basic income, and the inheritance tax require big government programs to avoid fraud - the basic income needs the government to track people, where they live, and their citizenship status; the inheritance tax requires that the government monitor wealth transfers, to ensure that they do not happen sufficiently close to the end of a persons life to be considered "inheritance". The claim that this is some kind of new "libertarian" redistributionism seems dubious. Given the nature of politicians, you can be sure that a new Leviathan would be erected on the back of these measures within a generation.


Rob Spear:

I agree that inheritance tax can get costly to administer, but you're completely wrong wrt. the basic income. Any sort of democratic government requires tracking people citizenship status, and basic income requires no further bureaucracy: if people are eligible to vote, they get a basic income check. The best combination is probably with a land value tax, which imposes no excess burden on the economy, while being among the easiest taxes to administer and taxing completely unearned income.


Parents can avoid having childen in Burnley.

Mark Wadsworth

Anon 5.43 20 Feb, well said!


Good for people to know.

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