By Bertrand de Jouvenel
During this concise and chic paintings, first released in 1952, Bertrand de Jouvenel purposely ignores the commercial proof that redistributional efforts sap incentives and are economically harmful. quite, he stresses the widely ignored moral arguments exhibiting that redistribution is ethically indefensible for, and virtually unworkable in a fancy society.
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The idea of proportion then came to be applied to the relation between needs and resources. Just as it seemed improper that some should have less than what was adjudged necessary, so it also seemed improper that others should have so much more. The first feeling was almost the only one at work in the early stage of redistributionism. 1 4 Socialists, at the inception of the move toward redistribution, took rather a disdainful attitude; the initial measures were in their eyes mere bribes offered to the working classes in an attempt to divert them from the higher aims of socialism.
But the onus of proving that economic progress would have been as impressive surely rests with the reformers. History shows us that each successive enlargement of the opportunities to consume was linked with unequal distribution of means to consume. 32 The effect of redistribution upon society No one has attempted to draw the picture of the society which would result from radical redistribution, as called for by the logic of reasoning on the maximization of satisfactions. Even if one were to compromise on such a floorand-ceiling society as we attempt to work out in the Appendix, it would still be one which would exclude the present modes of life of our leaders in every field, whether they are businessmen, public servants, artists, intellectuals, or trade-unionists.
But, should one agree to 20 21 Many of those who denounce, the disproportionate share of the "upper tenth" are blissfully unconscious of belonging to it. Thus maximum net income would be: (if all earned income) (if all investment income) for a single person £700 155. £625 155. for a childless couple £732 55. £65755. for a couple with three £813 55. £738 55. children THE SOCIALIST IDEAL 27 do so, the sums available for redistribution would be far less than it would seem at first sight. From the total amount of incomes above the ceiling, the income allowed would first have to be subtracted; second, unless one were prepared to restrict the functions of the State, the Treasury would have to recoup itself for its losses resulting from this redistribution.