By Bertrand de Jouvenel
During this concise and stylish paintings, first released in 1952, Bertrand de Jouvenel purposely ignores the industrial facts that redistributional efforts sap incentives and are economically harmful. quite, he stresses the widely ignored moral arguments displaying that redistribution is ethically indefensible for, and essentially unworkable in a posh society.
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Additional info for The ethics of redistribution
But when a certain point is reached, the same way of life cannot be maintained; a major readjustment is necessary; there is a fall to another way of life, a fall which involves great dissatisfaction. Therefore, it can be held that the previous discussion of satisfactions failed to do justice to the intensity of dissatisfactions due to loss of income. As we are still ruled by Robbins' principle that satisfactions and dissatisfactions of different persons are not commensurable, one falls back upon the mode of measurement which effectively prevails.
The more power to the State Already, when stressing the loss of investment capital which would result from a redistribution of incomes, we found that the necessary counterpart of lopping off the tops of higher incomes was the diversion by the State from these incomes of as much, or almost as much, as they used to pour into investment; the assumption which followed logically was that the State would take care of investment: a great function, a great responsibility, and a great power. Now we find that by making it impossible for individuals to support cultural activities out of their shrunken incomes, we have developed upon the State another great function, another great power.
The satisfaction of minority wants will be more expensive than the satisfaction of majority wants. Members of a minority will be discriminated against. There is nothing novel in this phenomenon. It is a regular feature of any economic society. People of uncommon tastes are at a disadvantage for the satisfaction of their wants. But they can and do endeavor to raise their incomes in order to pay for their distinctive wants. And this, by the way, is a most potent incentive; its efficiency THE SOCIALIST IDEAL 39 is illustrated by the more than average effort, the higher incomes and the leading positions achieved by racial and religious minorities; what is true of these well-defined minorities is just as true of individuals presenting original traits.