By John Baker
Booklet by way of Baker, John
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Extra info for Arguing for Equality
Compensation in an Egalitarian Society Desert can't be used to defend the way things are. But would it justify inequalities in a good society? The rest of this chapter addresses that question. This section looks at two central issues of compensation -- different levels of pay to compensate for different kinds of work, and the 'own-fault' clause which -64denies you compensation for losses which are your own fault. The next section looks at issues of merit. Work The principle of economic equality is at its core a belief that the costs and benefits of socially necessary production should be equally shared.
But to assess the force of such arguments, it helps to look a little at the different ways desert operates. What one finds is that the word 'deserve' is used in a wide variety of cases. Most of these are just as well catered for by other moral concepts, but there seem to be at least two areas in which the idea of desert has its own special role. These can be called 'merit desert' and 'compensation desert'. Once those ideas are clear, it will be possible to separate specific questions of desert from other issues, and to see how weak the case for deserved inequality really is.
When you treat people as your brothers, sisters, or comrades, you show a stronger concern for their wellbeing than what's required by decency. You're prepared to make sacrifices for them -- though you also expect the same in return. So community supports a more generous attitude towards universal wellbeing than the idea of need on its own. Community and respect Of course there can be no genuine sense of community between degrader and degraded, or exploiter and exploited -these relationships mock the very idea of community.
Arguing for Equality by John Baker