Monday, August 10, 2015

In the work of Rawls, Dworkin,  Arneson, and Cohen, a central example that clinches the case against equality of welfare as the ethically correct kind of egalitarianism is the required treatment of a person with voluntarily cultivated expensive tastes. Under welfare egalitarianism, such a person must receive a larger-than-normal bundle of scarce resources, which appears to render him a kind of exploiter of others with more frugal tastes. In the model I have presented, a person who has a high rate of time discount (r) or who views education as very costly (low value of s) has expensive tastes, for he will choose a low level of education (ceteris paribus) will consequently have low expected future income, and will have a low expected welfare. 
To take a the classic example, consider the person who derives satisfaction from a drink only If it is a pre-phylloxera claret. Such a person requires more money to derive the same satisfaction that a beer lover derives from her brew. Here is how Dworkin, Arneson, and I would differ in the treatment of a person. Dworkin would not compensate the one who could derive satisfaction only front pre-phylloxera claret if she identifies with those tastes. Arneson would not compensate her if it had been prudent for her to learn to like beer: presumably, if she knew that she would not have the income to purchase the ancient claret, and if she had the opportunity to develop frugal tastes, then it would have been prudent for her to do so. I propose that the decision whether to compensate her depends on how the median person of her type behaved. Let us say that her type is "child of impoverished aristocrats." If the "median preferences" of persons of that type are for pre-phylloxera claret, then she is entitled to compensation to increase her level of welfare to what the person of frugal tastes, who exercised a median degree of responsibility in other circumstances can experience with his resources. 
You have no obligation to raise your kids not to be greedy, because it would be unfair to make that demand.  The state will fix it later.

Mind reading: "Dworkin would not compensate the one who could derive satisfaction only front pre-phylloxera claret if she identifies with those tastes."

"Arneson would not compensate her if it had been prudent for her to learn to like beer"

One more fucking time. Analytical Marxists vs German bankers
“The kids were able to choose between seven different lunches: sushi and macrobiotics and whatever,” Ms. Rengier recalled. “And I said, ‘What if I don’t want my son to choose from seven different lunches?’ And she looked at me like I was an idiot.”

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