Inheritance of Wealth: Justice, Equality, and the Right to Bequeath

ISBN : 9780198860006

Daniel Halliday
256 Pages
138 x 216 mm
Pub date
Mar 2020
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Daniel Halliday examines the moral grounding of the right to bequeath or transfer wealth. He engages with contemporary concerns about wealth inequality, class hierarchy, and taxation, while also drawing on the history of the egalitarian, utilitarian, and liberal traditions in political philosophy. He presents an egalitarian case for restricting inherited wealth, arguing that unrestricted inheritance is unjust to the extent that it enables and enhances the intergenerational replication of inequality. Here, inequality is understood in a group-based sense: the unjust effects of inheritance are principally in its tendency to concentrate certain opportunities into certain groups. This results in what Halliday describes as 'economic segregation'. He defends a specific proposal about how to tax inherited wealth: roughly, inheritance should be taxed more heavily when it comes from old money. He rebuts some sceptical arguments against inheritance taxes, and makes suggestions about how tax schemes should be designed.


1 Introduction

2 Inheritance in Early Liberal Writings

3 The Utilitarian Case against Iterated Bequests

4 Inheritance and Luck

5 Inequality and Economic Segregation

6 Inheritance and the Intergenerational Replication of Inequality

7 Libertarianisms

8 Taxation

About the author: 

Daniel Halliday teaches political philosophy at Melbourne University. He works mainly on topics relating to justice and political economy. He holds a PhD in philosophy from Stanford University.

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