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When A Billion Dollars Is Just Too Much

There is an uneven distribution of wealth due to which the rich are getting richer. Activists and Philosophers have come together to voice that something is wrong and talk about economic limitarianism. The wealthy may believe that one can never be too rich, but the increasing economic inequality is convincing people to think that this idea might be wrong. 

What Is Economic Limitarianism?

Economic limitarianism is the idea that no one should have excessive wealth. It focuses on the risks and social harms of having unnecessary wealth in the hands of a few individuals. It’s not just about the effects of poverty and how it affects people. Instead, the concept emphasizes the effects of having too much. Putting a limit on how much wealth a person can have is not a punishment but can be done to encourage positive change in society. This change can also be beneficial for social and economic improvements. The idea refers to the fact that beyond a certain point, surplus money does not add to the well-being of life. A few million dollars may bring happiness, but beyond that, it may not offer the same happiness. The idea of limitarianism doesn’t condemn accumulating wealth and private property. It simply states that having a lot of wealth can be too much. However, the theory doesn’t state in numbers how much wealth should be enough for a person.

Timur/Pexels | Uneven distribution of wealth is increasing the problems of the poor.

Ingrid Robeyns, a Belgian theorist working at Utrecht University,  Netherlands, is the genius behind the concept of economic limitarianism. She teaches and researches in its philosophy department, focusing on political philosophy and ethical and social justice. She presented the idea, however, it took a few years to appear on an academic paper. She has been working on the issue and has generated reactions all across the globe. Robeyns shares her experience of voicing her theory in the following words. She said that in Europe, her experience is that the public gives many arguments against limitarianism. But in the US, it is an idea that is not considered worth discussing. People view it as something against income inequality, but its core is based on morals. It defines the concept as when it becomes ethically or morally crucial to intervene in a free market economic system for the benefit of society and its people.

Andrea/Pexels | Rich are getting richer because of economic instability.

Robeyns states that the concept of limitarianism is built on two main things: protecting democracy and addressing urgent problems in society that require collective efforts. She argues that wealth inequality can affect democracy as the rich can influence politicians or other individuals to act in their favor. If the idea of economic limitarianism is implemented, then a more equal distribution of wealth can be expected. Better distribution of wealth will improve the quality of life, especially for those living below the poverty line. A component of the theory also states that the rich are causing harm to the environment by creating CO2 footprints. It’s only fair to use their money to address the climate crisis.

Ron/Pexels | Rich people cause more harm to the environment.

Robeyn knows that there are numerous complications with implementing her theory, but at least she can make people think about inequalities and social justice. 

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