Skip to main content

The Pareto Argument and Inequality

Buy Article:

$51.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Abstract:

The Pareto argument for inequality holds that any change from a position of equality to one of inequality is justified so long as everyone benefits from the change. G.A. Cohen criticizes this argument (which he attributes to Rawls) on the ground that changes can normally be found which preserve both equality and Pareto-efficiency. However, this does not resolve the basic conflict between the two desiderata. Strong egalitarians hold that Pareto changes are not for the better if they increase inequality too greatly. Thus if the Pareto argument holds, then strong egalitarianism is unsustainable. I argue that egalitarians need not be troubled by the Pareto argument for inequality. The Pareto criterion would not be widely accepted unless it takes account of moral harms; but if it does take account of moral harms then there is no reason to doubt that egalitarian concerns can be incorporated into the Pareto argument.

email : p.shaw@philosophy.arts.gla.ac.uk

Document Type: Original Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9213.00147

Affiliations: Glasgow University

Publication date: July 1, 1999

bpl/phiq/1999/00000049/00000196/art00005
dcterms_title,dcterms_description,pub_keyword
6
5
20
40
5

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more