Nothing Wrong With Unearned Wealth? A Comment on Haslett and Bracewell-Milnes

  • Philippe Van Parijs
Conference paper
Part of the Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosophy book series (SEEP)


Both David Haslett and Barry Bracewell-Milnes dare to stick their necks out and do so in an articulate, thoughtful way. I like that. Not because I love chopping heads off, but because I strongly believe that an active involvement in public policy debates is an essential part of a scholar’s role in today’s society. Moreover, I have great sympathy for Haslett’s impatience with the great inequalities in life chances that result from a massively unequal access to external assets, while at the same time coming close to embracing Bracewell-Milnes’s rejection of the “short-termist, brash, materialistic, aggressively individualistic” market rat race in favour of a “more traditional and stable way of life, more long-termist, more family-oriented, less materialistic, more attuned to spiritual and ethical values, cool or contemptuous towards competitive spending, sympathetic towards conservation and preservation” (Bracewell-Milnes, 1997, p. 199). And yet, I deeply disagree with both. Why?


Distributive Justice Productivity Conception Unequal Access Productivity Criterion Educational Expenditure 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

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  • Philippe Van Parijs

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