Political Science 1020E Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Marginal Utility, John Rawls, Justice As Fairness
Course CodePolitical Science 1020E
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October 8, 2015
-huge increase in income inequality in developed countries
-Thomas Pikey, Capital in the Twenty-First Century
-Obama on “the de!ning challenge of our #me” (income inequality)
Why care how much a person has rela#ve to others?
Is equal distribu#on only instrumentally good?
Can all legi#mate claims be met without equality?
-equal distribu#on can seem undesirable
-shouldn’t we just maximize economic growth and let wealth trickle down
-but what if inequality of goods is bad for those who get less?
-self-respect depends on what you can do rela#ve to other people
-exclusion from ‘common life’ leads to lack of self-respect
-self-respect requires par#cipa#on in society on rela#vely equal terms with others
-economic inequality is bad for those who have less
-being economically worse o/ is ITSELF harmful to your health (level of inequality is correlated with
worse health outcomes)
-Why? Anxiety and stress, lack of autonomy
-economic inequality is bad for communal, fraternal, or solidaris#c social rela#ons
-economically stra#!ed communi#es: physically and socially gated
-but solidarity is not as uncontroversially valuable as self-respect or health
-goods such that you can give someone more only by giving others less (can’t make someone at the
boom beer o/ without ge5ng rid of someone at the top)
-university placements: the instrumental value of educa#on
-the importance of ge5ng a posi#onal advantage over others in the compe##on
-each of these seems strictly egalitarian but they actually aren’t
-priority for the worse o/
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