Ingrid Robeyns

Published On


Page Range

pp. 15–60


  • English

Print Length

46 pages

2. Having Too Much

This chapter is a reprint of what has become the germinal article on limitarianism. After laying out the distinction between intrinsic and instrumental limitarianism, the first part develops two arguments for limitarianism – the democratic argument, and the unmet basic needs argument. The second part develops a theoretical account of ‘the power of material resources’, which is the metric on which we should put the riches line. Next, the distinction between limitarianism as a moral and a political doctrine is discussed. The chapter closes by responding to two objections to limitarianism.


Ingrid Robeyns

Chair in Ethics of Institutions at Utrecht University

Ingrid Robeyns holds the chair in Ethics of Institutions at Utrecht University. She received her PhD dissertation from Cambridge University in 2003 and has since been publishing widely on questions of distributive justice, inequalities, applied ethics, and methodological considerations. She served as the first Director of the Dutch Research School of Philosophy, as the former director of Utrecht University’s Ethics Institute, and as the eighth president of the Human Development and Capability Association. She has co-edited two edited volumes and three special journal issues, and has previously published the book Wellbeing, Freedom and Social Justice (2017, with Open Book Publishers. She currently has a contract with Allen Lane (UK) and Astra House (USA) for a trade book on limitarianism (with translation rights sold to seven other publishers), which is scheduled to appear in the winter of 2023–2024.