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Wealth and Income Inequality: An Economic and Ethical Analysis

Brian P. Simpson
Journal of Business Ethics
Vol. 89, No. 4 (Nov., 2009), pp. 525-538
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27735209
Page Count: 14
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Wealth and Income Inequality: An Economic and Ethical Analysis
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Abstract

I perform an economic and ethical analysis on wealth and income inequality. Economists have performed many statistical studies that reveal a number of, often contradictory, findings in connection with the distribution of wealth and income. Hence, the statistical findings leave us with no better knowledge of the effects that inequality has on economic progress. At the same time, the existing theoretical results have not provided us with a definitive answer concerning the effects of inequality on progress. By gaining knowledge of the nature of inequality, and bringing basic economic principles to bear on the subject, we can come to an understanding of what the causal relationship is between inequality and economic progress. Furthermore, I apply a new theory of ethics – rational egoism – to assess economic inequality. I show that, in the right context, economic inequality is both economically and morally desirable.

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