Economic Equality is Unjust

Event Markets and Finance
Event Markets and Finance

January 22, 2019 Economic Equality is Unjust

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2019

11:00 am - 12:00 pm

The Heritage Foundation

214 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington, DC


David Burton

Senior Fellow, Economic Policy, Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, The Heritage Foundation


Conservatives, classical liberals and libertarians celebrate the fact that people have unequal (or diverse) talents, preferences, risk averseness, attachments and cultures because these are the central element to the rich tapestry of an enlightened, humane and prosperous society. These differences will inevitably lead to economic differences. And those differences are not objectionable. Any political system that mandated economic equality would be unjust. It is unjust to treat unequal situations equally. Instead, we should seek equal protection of the law or equal justice under law.

Government should not enforce a pre-determined distribution of income or wealth. Individual effort, merit, preferences and values matter morally. An unplanned distribution is just if the distribution is the result of individuals acting freely in accordance with just rules. However, because poverty hinders the ability of the poor to flourish and to lead a fulfilling life, public policies, private charity, education and other initiatives to address poverty and improve opportunity are warranted. But the pursuit of economic equality is not. In fact, the pursuit of economic equality can be extremely damaging to social welfare and manifestly unjust.

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