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What is Enough?Sufficiency, Justice, and Health$
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Carina Fourie and Annette Rid

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199385263

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199385263.001.0001

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Sufficiency, Priority, and Aggregation

Sufficiency, Priority, and Aggregation

(p.69) 4 Sufficiency, Priority, and Aggregation
What is Enough?

Robert Huseby

Oxford University Press

This chapter sets out a specific version of sufficientarianism and presents and rebuts two objections to sufficientarian views. According to the first objection, sufficientarianism implies that we cannot build new roads, bridges, or railroad tracks that will benefit thousands if the construction work is likely to harm a few (e.g., construction workers). The reason is that sufficientarianism is averse to aggregation that leaves individuals insufficiently well off, even when great welfare gains stand to be reaped. This objection can be met largely because sufficientarianism entails that we have to balance immediate insufficiency against future insufficiency. Furthermore, it is argued that sufficientarianism deals with aggregation in a more plausible way than does prioritarianism. The second objection holds that sufficientarianism implies that all of society’s surplus resources must be channeled toward persons who have difficulties reaching the sufficiency level. It is argued that, suitably formulated, sufficientarianism avoids this objection as well.

Keywords:   aggregation, distributive justice, prioritarianism, sufficiency

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