Luck, Choice, and Rationing Health Care

A Philosopher's Take

According to some philosophers, a feature that matters for assessing inequalities is how the inequality comes about. One theory that assesses inequalities in this way is presented by Ronald Dworkin in a position called “luck egalitarianism.” According to the luck egalitarian, a factor that matters when assessing inequalities in a given situation –and whether these inequalities are just or not– is whether they came about through calculated choice or not (Dworkin, 1981, p. 293). To clarify the view, if an inequality comes about as a result of an agents’ calculated choices, then according to the luck egalitarian, the inequality is just. The individual has presumably anticipated the consequences of her actions, and when those actions lead to her being worse off than others, then the inequality is fair. If a state of affairs comes about as a result of calculated choices, then this state of affairs is option luck, and…

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