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Liberty, Strict Equality and Positional Goods

Payne, JOH (2019) Liberty, Strict Equality and Positional Goods. MA by research thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis argues for a view that I call “strict egalitarianism” as a prerequisite for the non-domination and the collective liberty of all citizens. It is argued that the goal of collective liberty could not be secured for all in societies with extensive positional inequality. Our rights would violate the constraint of joint “compossibility”. Absent a collectively imposed solution to the problem of co-ordination, positional goods see everyone lose out from wasteful social competition. Strict egalitarianism could prevent this waste, by acting as the collectively imposed solution to the problem of positional competition. This thesis considers and rejects arguments given in favour of positional competition: arguments that thick economic liberty is paramount for liberty; that competition increases prosperity overall; that positional competition is optional and not strictly required as anyone can “opt out” if they choose. By contrast, it is argued that strict egalitarianism would free us from living in a constant state of competition for greater economic wealth, which causes people to lose focus of things that would create a more fulfilling life and frees us from domination.

Item Type: Thesis (MA by research)
Academic Units: The University of York > Philosophy (York)
Depositing User: Mr JOH Payne
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2019 10:14
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2019 10:14
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24537

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