Philosophy

The task of deciding how much inequality should be allowed rests in part on judgments about what constitutes the good society. Although philosophers have historically weighed in on questions of this sort, ordinary people also develop preferences for certain amounts of inequality and fashion narratives that justify these preferences.

Formal philosophy

Does justice call for raising the minimum income level as high as possible? Is it just as important to reduce the most spectacular forms of wealth at the top of the income distribution as it is to reduce the most spectacular forms of poverty at the bottom? Should we be concerned about the losses in liberty occasioned whenever "forcible" redistribution is attempted (e.g., minimum wage laws, estate tax laws)?

Lay philosophy

Do people regard the current level of inequality as excessive? How much inequality would most people like? Under what conditions, if any, do people regard extreme inequality as justifiable? Is inequality regarded as more palatable when it is "fairly" won in an open competition?

"When the rich wage war it is the poor who die." - Jean-Paul Sartre


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