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Ronald Dworkin on Inequalities - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 227
Inequalities/Dworkin/resorce-based view (RBV)/Lamont: Dworkin's method(1) is to determine justice in material distributions by way of imagining the behaviour of reasonable people at a hypothetical auction. He asks us to suppose that everyone is given equal purchasing power with which to bid, in a fair auction, for resources best suited to their life plans. They are then permitted to use those resources as they see fit. In addition, Dworkin supposes that before bidding, people do not know their own natural endowments or the value and distribution of these in society. They can, however, contribute payments to an insurance pool to compensate those who are unlucky in the 'natural lottery', thereby protecting themselves from this sort of disadvantage. Although people are likely to finish with different economic benefits, they have been treated equally, since they began with equal resources and total freedom to bid for other resource bundles had they wished.
The hope of Dworkin and other resource theorists is that institutions can be designed with this
hypothetical ideal in mind: individuals enjoy the fruit of, or bear the burden of, their choices, but the negative impact of luck is shared by society, unless individuals choose to face the risk alone. >Inequlities/Resource-based view (RBV), >Distributive Justice/Resource-based view (RBV), >Desert/Political philosophy, cf. >Distributive Justice/Libertarianism.


1. Dworkin, Ronald (2000) Soveæign Virtue: The Theory and Practice of Equality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Lamont, Julian, „Distributive Justice“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Dworkin I
Ronald Dworkin
Taking Rights Seriously Cambridge, MA 1978

Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2022-09-25
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