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Keywords:

  • inequality;
  • hunger;
  • poverty;
  • deprivation;
  • humiliation;
  • self-control;
  • unfairness;
  • exclusion

Global economic and political inequalities are in most respects greater today than they have been for decades. From one point of view inequality is a bad thing simply because it involves a deviation from equality, which is thought to have value for its own sake. But it is controversial whether this position can be defended, and if it can, whether the egalitarian ideal on which the defense may depend applies at the global level as in individual societies. Setting aside directly egalitarian reasons for concern about global inequality, this paper explores several reasons for concern that derive from nonegalitarian values – primarily those associated with poverty and material deprivation, humiliation, the impact of inequality on the capacity for self-control and self-government, and the unfairness of political decision-making procedures with large economic inequalities in the background.