Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Have just discovered Unenumerated, on law, technology, economics and history; the opening paragraph of a scathing early post on Rawls (Rawlsian maximin: preposterous risk aversion) give the flavour:

To get from John Rawls' "veil of ignorance" argument to his (and worse, most of his followers') favored wealth redistribution schemes requires (besides the ultimate fatal conceit that ignorant people can make rational contracts, as well as the dubious idea that we can pretend that we are ignorant of our own actual preferences) the rather extreme degree of risk aversion embodied in the "maximin" principle. As wikipedia summarizes maximin, "economic inequalities are only permitted insofar as they benefit the least well off members of society." How extreme the risk aversion this principle gives us depends on how small the group constituting the "least well of members" are...you get into strange and intractable triage hypotheticals about saving the life of one person up to the point where you'd cause the starvation of another...define your "least well off" group small enough and North Korea ends up looking like Beverly Hills in comparison to the maximin society.

The rest here.

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