In "Is Inheritance Justified?" D. W. Haslett argues that the practice of inheritance in intrinsically unjust, and should be abolished. What is a critical evaluation of his argument as to whether it...

In "Is Inheritance Justified?" D. W. Haslett argues that the practice of inheritance in intrinsically unjust, and should be abolished. What is a critical evaluation of his argument as to whether it is reasonable, sound, fair, or workable?

 

 

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Karyth Cara | College Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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Dr. Haslett's argument are sound as far as they go however they do not go far enough. Haslett focuses on the inheritance of the wealthy down to the wealthy. He unfortunately disregards a fair acknowledgement of the other side of inheritance, which is the inheritance of the poor down to the poor. It is by this means of inheritance that many poor are raised up out of abject poverty into operable poverty, by which I mean that they can improve their living conditions, their educational conditions, their health conditions and their employment conditions.

Thus while the inheritance from the wealthy to the wealthy may limit, in Haslett's terms, the right distribution of wealth, inheritance from the poor to the poor creates a correct distribution of wealth.

Examples are a mother slaving to keep up house payments and upkeep so she can leave her children a means of bettering themselves, rather than selling her house at a greatly appreciated value and using the for retirement comfort or a parent scrimping to meet insurance payments for the same reason as above.

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