Welfare Egalitarianism (hereafter, Egalitarianism) is the view that it
is intrinsically good for people to be equally well off. Or more
generally: it is intrinsically better for people to be more nearly
equal in welfare.
Survey question for curiosity: how many readers think that’s true? How
many find the claim intuitively obvious? (Think of your answer before
reading the rest.)
Following is an argument against Egalitarianism that I’d like to hear
comments on. It uses some premises from population axiology:
- The Unrepugnant Premise: For possible worlds x and y, if
y has a lower population than x, a higher average utility, a higher
total utility, and a perfectly equal distribution of utility, then y is
better than x.
- The Benign Addition Principle: If worlds x and y are so
related that y would be the result of increasing the utility of
everyone in x by some amount and adding some new people with worthwhile
lives, then y is better than x.
- Transitivity: If z is better than y and y is better than x, then z is better than x.