Journal Article

The Apostles’ justice: Cambridge reflections on economic inequality from Moore’s Principia Ethica to Keynes’s General Theory (1903–36)

Daniela Donnini Macciò

in Cambridge Journal of Economics

Volume 40, issue 3, pages 701-726
Published in print May 2016 | ISSN: 0309-166X
Published online September 2015 | e-ISSN: 1464-3545 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cje/bev058
The Apostles’ justice: Cambridge reflections on economic inequality from Moore’s Principia Ethica to Keynes’s General Theory (1903–36)

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This article explores economic justice in the writings of the Cambridge authors G. L. Dickinson, G. Shove, R. Hawtrey, D. H. Robertson, H.O. Meredith, J. H. Bell and F. Ramsey, who were either members of the Apostles’ discussion society or, like Hugh Dalton, ‘lay’ followers of its philosophical leader, G. E. Moore. The article challenges the prevalent view depicting the Apostles as uninterested in social problems. Their analyses of economic inequality are reviewed in connection with the Marshallian tradition, the impact of Fabianism and J. M. Keynes’s views of social justice. Special attention is paid to some neglected aspects of Moore’s Principia Ethica, which were debated in the Society and influenced the Apostles’ social awareness. They believed that large inequalities were both unjust and inefficient, and, as Moore’s disciples, they rejected the hedonistic perspective and considered justice not as an end in itself but as a means to the Good.

Keywords: Cambridge economics; Inequality; J. M. Keynes; Ethics; G. E. Moore; Cambridge Apostles; B31; D30; D63; E60

Journal Article.  16131 words. 

Subjects: Individual Economists ; Microeconomics ; Welfare Economics ; Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook

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