Debates about wealth inequality occur on multiple levels, creating a reality where people speak past each other. Levels of discussion include: economics, psychology, philosophical ethics. The basics of economics and psychology as they relate to wealth inequality are efficiently sketched. The space of philosophical ethics is defined. The goal is to get everyone onto the same page, and onto one level of discussion.
Philosophy & Ethics (24:00 mins) The philosophical/ethical view of wealth's distribution sets the value of equality against freedom. If equality is judged to hold greater worth, the subsequent question is: how can theoretical equality translate into wealth’s actual distribution in society? Three answers are investigated. Going in the other direction, the libertarian approach begins with a theoretical dismissal of equality ethics. It continues with this question: can any coherent argument against inequality be formed in a world that privileges individual autonomy and initiative? A response is outlined.
Participants’ Discussion (>10 mins)
On a discussion board, participants respond to one of philosophy’s notable thought experiments, the veil of ignorance. The opportunity is to experiment with the values developed through philosophy and ethics, as they are supported by psychological conceptions of envy, and the technical contributions of economics.
Response & Close (20 mins)
The discussion board is reviewed as a response to individual contributions, and as a summary of the particular session.