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Philosophy 2801F/G

READINGS LECTURE 4 EQUALITY OF RESOURCES PAYING FOR ONE’S CHOICES: THE AMIBITION-SENSITIVE AUCTION  Ambition sensitive distributive scheme everyone has the same naural talents  A successful auction meets the envy tests and makes each person pay for the costs of their own choices  Such a distributive shceme would be justice even though it allows some inequality in income  No one can claim to be treated with less consideration than another in the distribution of resources for if someone had preferred another person’s bundle of social goods she could have bid for it as well COMPENSATNG NATURAL DISADVANTAGES  Unfortunately the auction will only meet the envy test if we assume that no one id disadvantaged in terms of natural assets  Before the auction we give the disadvantaged enough social goods to compensate for their unchosen inequality in natural assets. Once that is done we give each person an equal share of the remaining resoureces to use in accordance with their choices in the auction  But that goal is impossible to achieve for no amount of social goods will fuly compensate for certain natural disadvantages  Since each additional bit of money can help the severely retarded person yet is never enough to fully equalize circumstances we would be required to give all our resources to people with such handicaps leaving nothing foreveryone else  Our circumstance affect our ability to pursue out ambitions, that is why they are morally important, why inequalities in them matter  If in trying to equalize the means we precent anyone from achieving their ends then we have failed completely  Dworkin’s proposal is similar to Rawls idea of an orginal position, we are to imagine people behind a mofidied veil of ignorance  It is irrational to not provide any protection against the calamities that may befall you  The amount of societies resources that we dedicate to compensating for natural disadvantages is limited to the coverage people would buy through premiums paid out for their initial bundle  Hopefully everyone can recognize and accept the fairness of letting their compensation be determined by what they would have chosen in such a hypothetical position of equality  Those who were fortunate in the natural lottery would be forced to be as produve as possible in order to pay the high premiums they hypothetically bought against natural disadvantage  Hence, equal concern for both the handicapped and the talented equires something other than miximal redistribution to the handicapped even though it will leave the handicapped envying the talented  If we cannot fully equalize real world circumstances then what else can we do to live up to our convictions about the arbitrariness of one’s place in the distribution of natural and social circumstances REAL WORLD EQUIVALENTS  We identify a just distribution of resources by imagining an equal intital share of resources which is then modified over tiem as a result of people’s hypothetical auction choices – and hypothetical insurance policies  The tax system can only approximate the results of the insurance scheme, for two resources 1. There is no way of measuring what people’s relative advantages and disadvantages are – it would be impossible to make these determinations and would involve a gross violation of priovacy to even try 2. Natural handicapps are not the only source of unequal circumstances 3. We want people’s fate to be determined by the choices they make from a fair and equitable starting point, but the idea of an equal starting point includes not only an achievable compensation for uneqla endowment but also an unachievable knowledge of future events 4. Inevitable that some people are undeservedly penalized for their unfortunate circumstances, while others are undeservedly subsidized for the costs of their choices 5. A just distribution must identify which aspects of any person’;s economic position flow from his choices and which from advantages and disadvantages that we not matters if choice  Argues that on any plausible account of the sort of hypothetical insrance people would buy against natural misfortunes, the coverage would be well above what is offered to the disabled, sick or unskilled in the US or Britain today  The hypothetical insurance scheme shows that the former is needed to equalize circumstances; the hypothetical auction scheme shows the the latter is needed tobe choice sensitive  Dworkin’s policy suggestions are surprisingly modest, they are primarily focused on ex post corrections to the inequlities generated b the market a. Stakeholder society: Bruce Akerman has proposed giving everyone a one time lump sum stake of 80,000 when they graduate from high school financed by a 2 perent wealth tax – people could use this as they see fit. By reducing ecisting inequalities in young peoples capacity to acquire productive assets or to develop their marketable talents, itwould help ensure that distributions more truly reflect choices rather than circ
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