Like the previous post, this one is prompted by reading Jerry Cohen’s book “If you’re an egalitarian, how come you’re so rich?” The particular point that interests me is his discussion of equality.
Cohen talks a lot about what is probably the easiest and most common political defense of inequality (of wealth), which goes along the following lines:
1) Human nature is a certain, selfish, way;
2) Because human nature is thus, people (especially talented people) will be productive only if they are offered differential material rewards for their work, hence only if inequality is permitted;
3) This inequality is justified because by motivating people to produce, it improves the condition of the worst-off members of society – they would be even worse-off in a more egalitarian but less productive society.