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Ethics, Economics, and PoliticsPrinciples of Public Policy$
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I. M. D. Little

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199257041

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2004

DOI: 10.1093/0199257043.001.0001

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Normative Political Economy

Normative Political Economy

(p.123) 11 Normative Political Economy
Ethics, Economics, and Politics

Ian Malcolm David Little

Oxford University Press

Government can and should be actively concerned with the relief of poverty. But there is no ethical principle defining the proper distribution of wealth between occupational or other social groups, nor can it be democratically determined in an orderly manner. Distributional coalitions, such as trade unions, employers, and professional associations, must be discouraged, with the distribution of wealth between groups determined by competition. Where politics is dominated by distributional issues, democracy is likely to break down, and often has. The related subjects of rent seeking and corruption are discussed.

Keywords:   corruption, democracy, distribution of wealth, distributional coalitions, poverty, rent seeking

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