It’s often said that there shouldn’t be any billionaires. But this is a mistake. What we need is a world without decamillionaires – people having more than ten million pounds. That is what the philosopher Ingrid Robeyns from the University of Utrecht argues in her new book Limitarianism. The Case Against Extreme Wealth.
Why would a world without anyone being superrich be better? Because extreme wealth undermines democracy; is incompatible with climate justice; and the money could be used much better elsewhere. Most fundamentally, no-one deserves to have so much money. But do these reasons stand up to scrutiny? Would preventing the accumulation of extreme wealth kill innovation, undermine our freedoms and opportunities to live the lives we lead, and in the end also harm the poor? Is limitarianism viable? Would it require us to abolish capitalism, and if so, what could replace it? And what, if anything, would it require from the overwhelming majority who do not have sizeable wealth?
This event will put these ideas to the test in a lively debate with the author of Limitarianism in conversation with LSE's Lea Ypi and Martin Sandbu of the Financial Times.
Meet our speakers and chair
Ingrid Robeyns (@IngridRobeyns) was trained in economics and in philosophy. She received her PhD from Cambridge University, where she was supervised by Amartya Sen. Her work focusses on socio-economic questions in contemporary political philosophy and applied ethics. Robeyns holds the Chair in Ethics of Institutions at the Ethics Institute of Utrecht University.
Martin Sandbu (@MESandbu) is the Financial Times's European economics commentator. He also writes Free Lunch, the FT's weekly newsletter on the global economic policy debate. He has been writing for the FT since 2009, when he joined the paper as economics leader writer. Before joining the FT, he worked in academia and policy consulting. He is the author of three books, on business ethics, the euro, and on the economics of belonging.
Lea Ypi is Professor in Political Theory in the Government Department, London School of Economics and Political Sciene, and Adjunct Associate Professor in Philosophy at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. Before joining LSE, she was a Post-doctoral Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College (Oxford) and a researcher at the European University Institute where she obtained her PhD.
Tania Burchardt is Associate Director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE), Deputy Director of STICERD, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Policy at LSE.
More about this event
The Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (@CASE_LSE) was established in October 1997 at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). We are a multi-disciplinary research centre exploring social disadvantage and the role of social and public policies in preventing, mitigating or exacerbating it. Social disadvantage is taken to be multidimensional, and often best understood in a dynamic or lifecourse perspective, and with individual, family, local, national and international aspects.
The Department of Government is home to some of the most internationally respected experts in the study of politics. The Political Theory Group in the Department of Government maintains close relations with political theorists and philosophers in other parts of the School, for example in the Departments of Law, Philosophy, and International Relations.
The Programme on Cohesive Capitalism is a major new multi-disciplinary initiative to investigate new politico-economic paradigms, institutions and policies that could serve the common interest. Led by Professor Tim Besley, and housed in STICERD and the Department of Economics, it will bring together world-class thinkers in political philosophy and the social sciences to address some of the fundamental questions about the kind of world that we want to create and what is needed to bring it about.
Explore LSE’s dedicated hub Understanding the UK Economy, showcasing research and expertise on the state of the UK economy, its global context and its future.
Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEWealth
Podcast & Video
A podcast of this event is available to download from Limitarianism: the case against extreme wealth.
Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.