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The Ethics of Redistribution

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Tags InterventionismPhilosophy and Methodology

01/11/2016Bertrand de Jouvenel

After many years of being out of print, this classic treatise from the brilliant political philosopher De Jouvenel (1952) provides an answer to a critical question: what is morally wrong with the idea of political management of incomes? Nearly every state in the world attempts to curb excess riches and boost the well being of the poor, and does so through a variety of programs that involve taxation and regulatory regimentation.

Yes, it generates disincentives to work but the author here deals with a more fundamental moral issue: to what extent and in what ways does redistribution compromise individual freedom and build the power of the state? It is in the transfer of power from people to government that the real problem with income management rests. De Jouvenel makes a devastating case against the most accepted of modern forms of economic intervention.

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