Limitarianism: Should the Rich Be Stopped From Getting Richer?

A new idea has begun to gain traction thanks to Limitarianism, which suggests limiting the wealth someone can make so that the excess money can then be used to improve society for the less fortunate.

Sparking the Debate

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The London School of Economics hosted a debate focusing on the ethical and societal implications of Limitarianism that has sparked a greater conversation regarding the need for wealth caps.

Robeyns’ Philosophy

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This idea of libertarianism has risen in popularity thanks to Ingrid Robeyns, a professor of philosophy and economics at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

A PhD at Cambridge

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While getting her PhD at Cambridge, Robeyns peers focused their work on helping the poor, but Robeyn found herself more interested in limiting the rich and their power to misuse excess wealth.

Wealth and Climate

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One major point in the London School of Economics debate focused on how wealth distribution is related to the climate crisis and how achieving more equitable wealth distribution could provide a more sustainable path for humanity.

Within the Power of Government

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Robeyns strongly believes that world governments not only have the power and authority to limit the wealth of their citizens but also the responsibility to do so.

The Case Against Extreme Wealth

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Robeyns has made her feelings regarding the issue clear in her book Limitarianism: The Case Against Extreme Wealth. In it, she argues against the value provided to the world by the super-rich and has even presented a number she believes to be an appreciation wealth cap.

No Decamillionairs

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In the book, Robeyns says, “In a country with a socioeconomic profile similar to the Netherlands, where I live, we should aim to create a society in which no one has more than €10m. There shouldn’t be any decamillionaires.”

A New Low

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Robeyns even goes so far that with the proper environment and governmental programs, the wealth cap could be brought down to as low as one million dollars per year.

Ethical Limit

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Robeyns says, “For people who live in a society with a solid pension system, the ethical limit [on wealth] will be around 1 million pounds, dollars or euros per person.”

Ethically Hoarding

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In the book, Robeyns justifies her point by saying that no one should be able to horde wealth beyond a certain limit for ethical and more reasons based on one’s obligations to their surrounding community.

Working With Capitalism

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The London debate also had experts discussing whether or not this system could be implemented harmoniously with the capitalist systems at play or if switching to such a system would require a major economic shift.

Separating the Two

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Though many of participating in the debate made their own conclusions about the possible relationship between capitalism and limitarianism, it would seem Robeyn has no interest seeing the two work together.

A New System

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When discussing the growing frustration with capitalism in an interview, Robeyn said the world needs, “a more considerate, values-based economic system”.

The Critics

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Critics arguing against Limitarianism question the impact it could have on innovation and economic freedom.

Economic Effort and Growth

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If there is a limit set to how much money a person can earn, then you could also inadvertently limit how much effort that person is willing to put into developing something and this at a major scale could hurt economic growth.

Holding Wealth

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In response to these criticisms, Robeyn argues that the current system in place gives the majority of people nothing from the efforts of the previous generations and the majority of the people holding the wealth are doing nothing besides hold that wealth themselves.

Promoting Entrepreneurship

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One could make the argument that if we, as a society, truly wanted to promote entrepreneurship, the best use of wealth could be to distribute it in such a way that it gives more people better opportunities to create and provide for themselves.

The Current System

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When comparing a more evenly distributed system of wealth to one that lets the rich build larger and larger caches of wealth that just sit there and make no meaningful impact, it is not hard to see where Robeyn’s frustration is coming from.

More to Come

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Whether or not you agree with Robeyn, the growing frustration with economic equality is steadily rising and with it, there can only come more ideas for major systemic changes and you never know what ideas might stick.

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The post Limitarianism: Should the Rich Be Stopped From Getting Richer? first appeared on Edge Media.

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Keegan Leighty is a committed writer known for his impactful work in bringing attention to societal issues and injustices, using his platform to advocate for change and awareness. He also writes satire and stand up.

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