Income Inequality Argument Analysis

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Income inequality is rampant, and currently, it 's only getting worse. At this moment, the richest 1% of the population control nearly half of all global wealth. If current trends continue, the wealthiest 1% will have more than the other 99% within just a few years. The question is, however, how much income inequality is acceptable? Like many social issues, there is no easy answer, and people are remarkably divided on the answer. The ethical theory of utilitarianism provides little guidance on the topic, with arguments being readily made on both sides under this principle. Political philosopher, John Rawls, argues that income inequality is acceptable, but only under very stringent circumstances. In opposition to Rawls, Robert Nozick,…show more content…
Coming down on the other side of the inequality argument is American philosopher Robert Nozick, the author of Anarchy, State, and Utopia. Nozick, in contrast to Rawls, believes that any distribution of goods is fair if it is created by a free exchange between people in a fair starting position, even if it results in large inequalities. Nozick challenged both some of Rawls ' conclusions as well as average utilitarianism. He is known for creating his own thought experiment, the "utility monster", wherein the monster receives a much greater degree of pleasure from the consumption of a given resource, thus justifying his consumption of the entirety of that resource, much to the detriment of everyone else. Nozick 's entitlement theory states that people who own or create something, have the rights to it. He writes unequivocally, "Whoever makes something having bought or contracted for all other held resources used in the process (transferring some of his holdings for these cooperating factors), is entitled to it. The situation is not one of something’s getting made, and there being an open question of who is to get it. Things come into the world already attached to people having entitlements over them." He believed that taking away someone 's property (in the form of taxes, for instance) was unjust. While Nozick would not have approved of the subterfuge on the part of the financial institutions which contributed to the housing bubble crisis of 2007, as shown in the film The Big Short, he would not have had any issues with the huge profits accrued to those who made wise decisions in the ensuing
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