The Permissibility of Prerogative Grounded Incentives in Liberal Egalitarianism

Thomas, A. (2005) The Permissibility of Prerogative Grounded Incentives in Liberal Egalitarianism. Ethique Economique, 3 (1). ISSN 1639-1306. (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Abstract

G. A. Cohen's critique of Rawlsian special incentives has been criticised as internally inconsistent on the grounds that Cohen concedes the existence of incentives that are legitimate because they are grounded on agent-centred prerogatives. This, Cohen's critics argue, invites a slippery slope argument: there is no principled line between those incentives Cohen permits and those he condemns. This paper attempts a partial defence of Cohen: a prerogative can be granted but then its operation internally qualified. A better off person has a prerogative that grounds incentive payment, but that person should be sensitive to the degree of difference between her resources and those of the representative worst off person (as represented in a minimum standard of living). This gives a better off person under a distribution a discretion that is then internally qualified by a commitment to an egalitarian ethos. The paper concludes that on balance this is not, in fact, a reasonable view of a prerogative: granting it and then qualifying it in this way undermines the unfettered discretion that should attach to a prerogative. However, Cohen has certainly identified an ambiguity in how we conceive of prerogatives.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Alan Thomas
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2008 21:13
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2010 14:34
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/9347 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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