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Assessing Non-intrinsic Limitarianism

  • Alexandru Volacu
  • Adelin Costin Dumitru


In this paper we aim to examine a novel view on distributive justice, i.e. limitarianism, which claims that it is morally impermissible to be rich. Our main goal is to assess the two arguments provided by Ingrid Robeyns in favour of limitarianism, namely the democratic argument and the argument from unmet urgent needs and the two distinct limitarian views which these arguments give rise to. We claim that strong limitarianism, which is supported by the democratic argument, should be rejected as it fails to fully instantiate the value of political equality, while having some other unattractive implications as well. By contrast, we argue that weak limitarianism, which is supported by the argument from unmet urgent needs, should be endorsed, albeit in a qualified version which also takes responsibility constraints into consideration.


Distributive rule Limitarianism Political equality Responsibility Urgent needs 



We are grateful to Andreas Albertsen, Dimitrios Efthymiou, Carl Knight, Lasse Nielsen, Ingrid Robeyns, Efrat Ram-Tiktin and Rudolf Schuessler as well as the audience at the Europe on Distributive Justice International Workshop, held at the University of Aarhus in June 2017, for valuable discussions on previous drafts of the paper.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute of the University of BucharestBucharestRomania
  2. 2.Faculty of Public AdministrationSNSPABucharestRomania
  3. 3.Doctoral SchoolSNSPABucharestRomania

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