Wealth Without Limits: in Defense of Billionaires




In this essay we argue against preventing people from amassing extreme wealth via increased taxation. The first argument in favor of such a proposal, recently advanced by Ingrid Robeyns (2018), states that billionaires’ resources would be better spent addressing morally important goals such as meeting disadvantaged people’s needs and solving collective action problems. In response to this claim, we argue that billionaires are typically in a better position to benefit the poor and to solve collective action problems than public officials. The second argument in favor of preventing extreme wealth accumulation, advanced by Robeyns and Robert Reich (2018), states that billionaires have an inappropriate amount of influence in public life, which undermines political equality. We argue that corporate leaders tend to be more accountable to their fellow citizens than public officials. We then consider and criticize the objection that billionaires’ success is typically a result of public investment, which entitles public officials to enforce taxes that demand a return on the public investment.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2022, Springer Link.

DOI: 10.1007/s10677-022-10327-3