I assess G. A. Cohen’s claim, which is central to his luck egalitarian account of distributive justice, that forcing others to pay for people’s expensive indulgence is inegalitarian because it amounts to their exploitation. I argue that the forced subsidy of such indulgence may well be unfair, but any such unfairness fails to ground an egalitarian complaint. I conclude that Cohen’s account of distributive justice has a non-egalitarian as well as an egalitarian aspect. Each impulse arises from an underlying commitment to fairness. Cohen’s account of distributive justice is therefore one of justice as fairness.
G. A. Cohen Expensive tastes Exploitation Fairness Luck egalitarianism