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Rights, Culture and the LawThemes from the Legal and Political Philosophy of Joseph Raz$
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Lukas H. Meyer, Stanley L. Paulson, and Thomas W. Pogge

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199248254

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199248254.001.0001

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The Intrinsic Value of Economic Equality

The Intrinsic Value of Economic Equality

(p.127) 8 The Intrinsic Value of Economic Equality
Rights, Culture and the Law


Oxford University Press

Some philosophers, prominently Joseph Raz and Harry Frankfurt, argue that we should not care about economic equality, that is, at least not if we think of economic equality as intrinsically valuable. Both Raz and Frankfurt claim that economic equality has no moral value in itself. Frankfurt formulated this point succinctly in saying that ‘what is important from the point of view of morality is not that everyone should have the same but that each should have enough’. This chapter argues that part of what having enough economic resources means is that one does not have much less than most others, and that the value of economic equality is actually derivable from those same considerations that were meant to show why equality, as such, has no intrinsic value, namely, the basic moral concern with the satisfaction of people's needs. This chapter also looks at sufficiency, the reasons for needing something, and the irrationality of envy.

Keywords:   economic equality, intrinsic value, economic resources, moral value, needs, sufficiency, reasons, envy

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