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On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice, and Other Essays in Political Philosophy$
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G. A. Cohen and Michael Otsuka

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691148700

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691148700.001.0001

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Freedom and Money

Freedom and Money

(p.166) Chapter Eight Freedom and Money
On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice, and Other Essays in Political Philosophy

G. A. Cohen

, Michael Otsuka
Princeton University Press

This chapter explains a disagreement that Cohen had with his teacher and friend, Isaiah Berlin, about freedom and, more particularly, about the relationship between freedom and money. Contrary to the very influential things that Isaiah wrote, Cohen argues that lack of money, poverty, carries with it lack of freedom. He regards this as an overwhelmingly obvious truth, one that is worth defending only because it has been so influentially denied. While lack of money, poverty, is not the only circumstance that restricts a person's freedom, it is one of them, and one of the most important of them. To put the point more precisely—there are lots of things that, because they are poor, poor people are not free to do, things that nonpoor people are, by contrast, indeed free to do.

Keywords:   freedom, money, poverty, Isaiah Berlin, G. A. Cohen, poor people

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