Let's agree that all dictatorships are equally bad

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This paper shows that a minimal degree of consideration for other people's well-being enables society to agree that one social policy is the best. I offer axioms that imply that this best policy maximizes a weighted sum of individual utilities. The weight of each individual is the inverse of his or her maximal possible utility from social endowments. The suggested policy is not sensitive to the choice of the von Neumann-Morgenstern utilities. The key axiom is that individuals agree that giving all the endowments always to one person is as bad as giving them to any other person.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-589
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Political Economy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


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