Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 667–680 | Cite as

Luck, Risk and the Market



This paper explores how luck egalitarianism fares in capturing our intuitions about the fairness of market-generated outcomes. Critics of luck egalitarianism have argued that it places no restrictions on what outcomes are acceptable, at least when all agents are equally situated before entering the market, and that this gives us a reason to reject it as an account of fairness. I will argue that luck egalitarianism does make specific judgements about which market-generated outcomes are compatible with maintaining a fair distribution. In addition, I will argue that luck egalitarian prescriptions accord with our pre-theoretical intuitions about the (un)fairness of certain market-generated outcomes. Securing these points both speaks in favour of luck egalitarianism as an ethical principle and provides a framework within which to analyze the fairness of practical, real world cases.


Luck egalitarianism Responsibility Risk Markets 



For comments on earlier drafts of this paper I would like to thank Sam Arnold, Eamonn Callan, Tom Dougherty, Gideon Elford, Iason Gabriel, Sarah Hannnan, Joseph Mazor, David Miller, Michael Otsuka, Debra Satz, Adam Swift, Juri Viehoff and the members of the Stanford Political Theory Workshop.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GlasgowGlasgowScotland

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