Fair Limits (project archive)


17 September 2021
10:15 - 11:15
Academiegebouw, Utrecht

PhD defense Dick Timmer: ‘Thresholds and limits in theories of distributive justice’

On 17 September, Fair Limits researcher Dick Timmer defends his dissertation titled ‘Thresholds and limits in theories of distributive justice’. Below is a description of the contents.

In August 2020, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos became the first person ever to be worth over $200 billion. In that same year, the richest 500 people in the world added another $1.8 trillion to their combined wealth, accumulating a total net worth of $7.6 trillion. At the same time, due to COVID-19, regional conflicts, and climate change the number of people living in extreme poverty might exceed 800 million in the coming years.

These numbers call for action, but also for reflection. According to Timmer, the concept of a ‘threshold’ is crucial for such reflection. His research examines the role that thresholds play in description of how income, wealth, and other valuable goods should be distributed and made available to people. This could be, for example, a poverty threshold below which people do not have enough or a wealth limit above which they have too much.

Timmer focuses on two specific theories about how valuable goods should be distributed and made available in particular. The first is sufficientarianism, which says that people should at least have enough of some goods. The second is limitarianism, which says that people should not have more than a certain amount of wealth. Timmer argues that both sufficientarianism and limitarianism provide distinctive and important insights into how valuable goods must be distributed and made available to everyone.

The dissertation will be published on September 12th via this link

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