If You're an Egalitarian, How Come You Eat Meat?

24 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2018 Last revised: 16 Sep 2018

See all articles by Marc Fleurbaey

Marc Fleurbaey

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Martin Van der Linden

Emory University

Date Written: September 6, 2018

Abstract

We study fairness in economies where humans consume one private good and one public good, the latter representing the welfare of other species. We show that it is impossible for a social evaluator to be egalitarian with respect to humans and be speciesist, in the sense of always respecting unanimous preferences among humans (even when they imply harming other species). One solution is to only impose a respect for unanimity among humans when it does not lead to a decrease in the welfare of other species. Characterizing social preferences satisfying these properties reveals a surprising link between concerns for other species, egalitarianism among humans, and unanimity: the latter two imply a form of dictatorship from humans with the strongest preferences for the welfare of other species.

Keywords: Welfare Economics, Animal Ethics, Egalitarianism, Efficiency, Fairness

Suggested Citation

Fleurbaey, Marc and Van der Linden, Martin, If You're an Egalitarian, How Come You Eat Meat? (September 6, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3151808 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3151808

Marc Fleurbaey

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Martin Van der Linden (Contact Author)

Emory University ( email )

201 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

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