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 currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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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
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