Need and Desert

This is just a passing thought that I’ve been meaning to blog for awhile–almost apropos of nothing. It isn’t a natural continuation of any topic we’ve discussed so far in our conversations on Sher’s Desert, but bears an obvious relation to the topic of desert in general.

It’s common to distinguish claims of desert sharply from claims of need. The contrast, I think, goes back at least to Aristotle, who makes it in a rather complex way in his discussion of justice in the Nicomachean Ethics. It finds clearer and sharper expression in the work of Ayn Rand, who insists that no claim of need, as such, can in principle ever be a claim of moral desert. To deserve is to earn moral title to the deserved object, but one can need something without having done anything to earn it (e.g., a roof over one’s head, health care, food), and one can deserve something without really needing it (e.g., praise). The things we need and deserve can, of course, overlap in certain instances, but (on Rand’s view) need is never sufficient for desert.

Though I’ve called this “Rand’s view,” I don’t think Ayn Rand is alone in holding it. It is, as I see it, a common belief held and even taken to be a platitude by many people, whether influenced by Rand or not. That said, for ease of reference (and for lack of any better alternatives), I’ll call it “the Randian view.” One potentially problematic implication of the Randian view is that very young children (including infants) either deserve nothing, or only deserve to have their needs met in virtue of whatever little they can do to earn need-satisfaction. I’ll call this “the Randian implication.”

The younger the child, the less she can do; the less she can do, the less plausible the second disjunct of the Randian implication becomes. Actually, you might just find the second disjunct implausible anyway, whether because you find it hard-hearted or incoherent or both. Do infants really deserve to be given food and drink only because they earn their keep? In what respect can a toddler really be said to earn her keep at all? Would it be just to deprive a child of basic needs in “punishment” for–or more neutrally, in response to–her failures to earn her way through life? It’s radically unclear how to begin to answer these questions, or whether they can be answered at all.

Given this set of problematics, it seems more natural (if that’s the right word) to drop the second disjunct of the Randian implication, and claim straightforwardly that children deserve nothing, including the satisfaction of their needs–until (and unless) they can earn moral title to need-satisfaction by their independent actions. Once they do, of course, their claim to need satisfaction is no longer a matter of sheer need, but becomes one of need respectably converted into moral desert. Obviously, a child would have to find some way to get to that point for any of this to matter. And if the child literally deserves nothing and gets nothing, that might be hard to pull off.

It may seem shocking to some ears to claim that children deserve nothing, but it’s unclear what follows from the claim. I can think of two very different possibilities.

One implication is essentially nihilistic: since children deserve nothing, then no wrong is done to them if their needs go unsatisfied. On this view, child neglect is neither immoral nor a crime; it’s just an optional lifestyle choice, to be left to parental discretion.

Another possibility is rights-based: while children strictly speaking deserve nothing, it remains wrong to neglect them–both immoral and criminal–because doing so violates their rights. Having put them in a position of need, one is obligated to get them out of that position, not because they deserve it, but because they have a right to it: it would initiate force against them involuntarily to put them in a position of need and leave them there. Children don’t, after all, consent to be born, or consent to be put in a position of need. Those who put them there therefore owe them the actions and/or resources required to get them out.  The same might be said, after all, of  an adult whom one had, say, kidnapped or imprisoned: setting aside the justification (or not) for the imprisonment, one is obligated to meet the prisoner’s needs during a period of incarceration or confinement whether she deserves it or not.*

One clear implication of the rights-based gambit is that children cannot be said to deserve to have their rights respected. One is instead forced to say that the child has rights (without deserving them), and that it’s obligatory to respect these rights (despite the absence of any claim to desert involved). The obligation to respect rights is not (on this view) conceptually linked to claims of desert; the two norms, rights and desert, are distinct from each other, and involve distinct (perhaps irreducibly distinct) sources of normativity. This strikes me as a problematically dualistic view, but I won’t pursue that here.

Instead, we might just consider rejecting Rand’s view as well as the implication that follows from it. The view does, after all, have an ad hoc quality about it. Why distinguish so sharply between claims of desert and claims of need in the first place? Why can’t need be one of many desert-bases alongside others?

Objectivists have in general ignored children, or mentioned them only to ignore them. Leonard Peikoff’s discussion of justice is typical: “Leaving aside the claims of children on their parents, no person by the mere fact of his existence or needs has a claim on the assets of others” (Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, p. 287). It’s not clear why Peikoff is entitled without explanation to “leave aside the claims of children on their parents.” The claims of justice apply to humans qua humans, and children are full-fledged (though relatively undeveloped) human beings. An account of the norms of justice has to have some application to children. It can’t just dismiss them as irrelevant to the human condition and proceed as though they didn’t exist or matter (however convenient that would be).

Having left children aside, Peikoff feels no particular obligation to bring them “back” at any point in this book (or any other). Children are simply left a mystery of the Objectivist moral ontology. It won’t suffice to resolve that mystery by invoking the obligations of parents. Some children, called “orphans,” lack parents. At face value, then, Peikoff’s claim entails that orphans can neither make claims to need-satisfaction as a matter of rights, nor as a matter of moral desert. Once neglected, no injustice is done if they are either left to shift for themselves (to use Locke’s phrase), or die. That seems a problematic implication in itself, and also one that contradicts Rand’s claim (in The Virtue of Selfishness) that there are no conflicts of interest between human beings.** There does seem to be a conflict of interest between orphans and those who claim that they deserve nothing.

Suppose we reject both the Randian view and its corresponding implication. In that case, we might say that children deserve need-satisfaction. If so, the claims of need and those of desert turn out not to be entirely distinct. At the very least, we have one clear case in which claims of need just are claims of desert. And though children have sometimes been called “marginal cases,” it’s hard to argue that they are somehow marginal to human life, as though they only existed in wild philosophical thought-experiments but nowhere else on the planet. Children are everywhere. So this one putatively little case might have a fair bit of theoretical bite.

The “one clear case” might also ramify into others. There are, after all, cases in which adults are reduced to the level of helpless infants, whether by illness (mental and/or physical), and/or by sheer age, and/or by some other ability-diminishing circumstance. If we grant that infants deserve need-satisfaction because of the helplessness of their predicament, we might plausibly grant that adults deserve it insofar as their predicament resembles that of infants or other young children. And then we have two or more clear cases in which claims of need just are claims of desert.

I can’t pretend to have argued that there are such cases. My point is simply that the sharp contrast between need and desert is not nearly as clear as its proponents seem to think–a modest claim, but one that potentially packs a normative punch.


*Some helpful background on the provision of medical care in correctional settings in the United States.

**Strictly speaking, she says that there are no conflicts of interest between rational agents acting rationally. Arguably, infants and small children are incapable of rational action, in which case the thesis, as stated, is consistent with the possibility that there are irresolvable conflicts of interest between children and adults.

Thanks to Carrie-Ann Biondi for inspiring the train of thought that led to this post, and to Lindsay Elliker for insisting that I “pretend to like” her children. Though I haven’t read it in ages, I suspect that the post is subconsciously influenced by Alasdair MacIntyre’s Dependent Rational Animals (Open Court, 1999).

11 thoughts on “Need and Desert

  1. I don’t know about desert, but as far as rights go, Rand says: “Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival.” It sure sounds like she’s at least grounding rights on needs.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree that Rand grounds rights on needs, but (as I don’t “need” to tell you) she’s clearer about why I need my rights to be respected than she is about why I need to respect the rights of others.

      And while rights are based on the needs of the agent, given the way she argues, it becomes unclear why a freely acting agent ought to give others what they deserve, pay attention to their needs, or treat the satisfaction of their needs as something they deserve. “Unclear” doesn’t mean she has zero resources for dealing with the problem (especially if we read her charitably and borrow heavily from others to reconstruct her arguments), but when all is said and done, I’d say that she leaves more undone than done.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for these stimulating reflections, Irfan. I just wanted to mention a couple of writings that relate to these issues. For the Objectivists, there is the piece by Nathaniel Branden in the December 1962 issue of THE OBJECTIVIST NEWSLETTER addressing the question What are the respective obligations of parents to children and children to parents? It casts the issues in terms of moral obligations and the optional, it is centered on needs of the offspring and her parents’ special moral obligations concerning those needs, the fulfillment of which would be wrongly conceived of as self-sacrifice on the part of the parent and wrongly conceived as a debt incurred by the child. It does not explicitly speak of desert, yet I sense that the child to whom the parent has a moral obligation is deserving of its fulfillment by the parent in the sense that Objectivists would be at ease to say that each regular adult deserves to be treated as an end-in-himself/end-in-herself. So far as I know, Branden never attempted to tie the parent-child relations broached here with his latter essay on his Visibility Principle, though that would seem possibly a fertile effort to venture. (John Enright addressed the question Why have children? somewhere, perhaps in THE NAVIGATOR.)

    The second likely pertinent thing is a book on my shelf I’ve not gotten to study: NEEDS AND MORAL NECESSITY Routledge (2007) by Soran Reader. It “analyses ethics as a practice, explains why we have three moral theory-types, consequentialism, deontology and virtue ethics, and argues for a fourth needs-based theory.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for those references. I’m pretty sure I’ve read the Branden piece, but I don’t remember the argument, and my copies of The Objectivist Newsletter are sitting in storage a few towns away, so they’re not easily accessible. I’m both intrigued by and skeptical of the blurb you’ve quoted of the Soran Reader book, but that’s as good a reason for reading it as any.

      Like

  3. This is intuitive: if person A needs something desperately and B can easily supply it, then B is obligated to A to supply it. Scanlon calls this The Rescue Principle (easy rescues are the paradigm case, though it probably applies to cases that are not literal rescues). It is also intuitive that it is because of this — not due to those in desperate need having particularly earned anything, achieved anything, tried really hard at anything, etc. (and not even due to, more generically, possessing some desirable personal trait) — that those in desperate need deserve help. They deserve help because, if they did not get it from a person able to easily provide it, that person would wrong them. There is probably a similar principle concerning collective obligation and desert.

    Rand makes the mistake that I accuse Sher and others of making (or slipping into, in some functional sense): treating all cases of a person deserving something as cases of that person doing something to earn some kind of treatment from others (call this the “achievement” model of desert). I think this error is seen as crazy and wrong as soon as it is pointed out. There is a broader category of desert that concerns appropriate response to desirable personal traits more generally (whether or not earned, the result of one’s intentional action, the result of one’s free or autonomous action, etc.). In all of these cases, desert concerns the desirability of a personal trait and the desirability of [the trait or its absence being rewarded or sanctioned in morally acceptable ways]. Characterize this sort of desert as “desirable reward” type of desert. In achievement-type cases, we also properly credit the agent for having the personal trait (it is not clear to me whether we also appropriately do so, in at least some way, in the cases in which the trait is not earned or not fully earned). But, more importantly and perhaps more obviously, this popular model of desert does not account for “wronging-related” desert: (i) deserving not to be wronged, (ii) deserving apology or amends when wronged, (iii) the wrongdoer deserving condemnation or punishment. Once we see this distinction, the reality and wronging-related “logic” of certain need-based forms of desert becomes obvious.


    TLDR?…

    (David Riesbeck, in our most recent discussion, suggested that we might be able to eliminate talk of wronging-related desert in favor of simply talking about our obligations to each other (and the correlative claims or rights). Maybe when we say all there is to say about the obligations, there is really nothing distinct left to say about desert. I don’t think this is right, mainly because, when all obligation-related is said and done, it is not clear that anything has been said about appropriate observer response to things like those wronged getting apologies and wrongdoers being condemned. Nevertheless, this sort of response seems like the most promising defense of treating all desert — or all “true” desert — to be achievement-related (or perhaps desirable-reward-related, if one broadens the scope a bit, to include the natively intelligent or pretty deserving some kind of commendation or reward).)

    I think the most general need-based principle of obligation to others (and hence of need-based desert) goes approximately like this: one is obligated to help others in need (and perhaps even others in their values or wants) if their need (or want) is dire (or important) enough and one can easily enough render decisive help. This (or something very much like it) is a true principle, but it is useless for guiding action. When we supply particular decision-contexts (circumstances or “problems” that require solution) and fill in, for each context, the thresholds for “dire (or important) enough” and “easily enough” — perhaps in some cases this comes to something like a ratio of importance to each agent — we get a stable of context-specific, actionable rules. I suspect that: (a) there are few universally true and actionable rules, (b) that what reasonable-enough rules we have in fact settled on in a group or society matters, (c) that procedures of conflict-resolution and coming to substantial consensus are important as well. The general principle helps us identify candidates and non-candidates (e.g., morally and rationally unacceptable specifications of claim and obligation, the proposals properly dismissed from the debate rather than respectfully debated).

    (One’s own children are something of a special case because the special role or relationship makes a difference to what one’s obligations (and the corresponding patient claims or rights) are. So I guess that, in order to get a perfectly general (a more general) principle of need-based obligation (and desert), one would have to have a place for any special roles or relationships in the principle. What I’ve provided generalizes only over claim and obligation between generic people who are not in any morally-salient special role or relationship with respect to each other.)

    Like

    • I’m sympathetic to what you say in the first half of your comment, but also find the whole issue rather tricky, and am reluctant to sign on to anything all that definite.

      I think a Rescue Principle has to be regulated by a principle that says that we have a need for Safe Harbor from the needs of others. One problem I have with all Rescue-type Principles (whether Scanlon’s or Singer’s) is that they involve a bait-and-switch. They give you a case in which rescue is cheap and easy, get you to sign on, then start to generalize from that one case to lots of unlike cases without being able to explain the limits of the original case. How exactly does that confected case generalize to other cases? “Imagine that someone is in need, and you are easily able to provide it.” Well, once you iterate something easy, it becomes less easy. Suppose I can save a life with a mouseclick. Then the Rescue Principle entails that I ought to click my mouse. How about two clicks? How about three? How about n? I think it’s problematic to throw the RP out there without throwing out a corresponding SHP–a Safe Harbor Principle. To that extent, it helps to read Scanlon after having gone through a fling with Rand. (You may or may not remember William Sin, who gave a paper on this topic at one of the Felician Ethics Conferences–2010 or 2011. Here’s the paper,”Trivial Sacrifices, Great Demands,” Journal of Moral Philosophy [2010], https://philpapers.org/rec/SINTSG.)

      On the broader point that we seem to have an obligation to satisfy needs even when someone has done nothing to earn our help, I certainly think there’s something to that intuition. But suppose you confront three people in the same semi-desperate need. The first has acted so as to earn your sympathy; the second has done nothing; the third has created his own misfortune; and the fourth has not only created his own misfortune, but caused some for others. Suppose you can only give assistance to one person. Then it seems that the first person ought to get the assistance. Suppose that you can give money proportionately, in a lexical ordering? Then the first person gets the most, the second person gets the second-most, and so on. This thought-experiment suggests that when it comes to meeting needs, acting so as to deserve assistance trumps the sheer fact of need minus any achievement (at least in someone capable of achievement).

      Ironically, I think Rand does grant some of the force of the Rescue Principle, but only in emergencies! In that case, she seems to be saying that we can grant the non-deserved by virtue of “species solidarity.” (This is in “The Ethics of Emergencies.”)

      Another funny irony is that Rand’s so-called Pyramid of Ability involves systematic granting of the unearned by those at the top of the Pyramid. This is so blatantly obvious from her account of it, but seems almost totally unremarked on by her followers. If we only deserve what we’ve earned, how do you “deserve” the “bonus” produced by “the men of ability,” to whose achievements you’ve ex hypothesi contributed nothing?

      http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/pyramid_of_ability.html

      Finally, though I think Rand gets a lot wrong, she does get one thing right that’s worth keeping in mind. Rand is really bad at describing what moral patients are owed. But she seems right to think that if someone is a moral patient in the sense of being unable to exist as a conditional agent, it may be that their just deserts shrink to a very small number. If someone is brain dead, or a child is born with anencephaly, it’s not clear that there’s all that much they can deserve at that point. The best explanation for that fact, it seems to me, is their distance from the paradigm case of self-generated and self-sustaining action, i.e., acting so as to deserve your life. If you can’t do that, and will never be able to, perhaps you don’t deserve life in the straightforward sense that there is no agent there capable of living it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My offhand reaction to the suggestion that the brain dead or those born with anencephaly don’t deserve much of anything is to reject it as absurd until it’s been proven to be an irresistible conclusion from true premises, because it seems obviously absurd to suggest that just any way of treating a brain dead or anencephalic human being would be as good as any other, subject only to external considerations. One needn’t have a strong sense of exactly how one ought to treat such human beings to retain the conviction that they’re owed some sort of respect or reverence inconsistent with treating them the way one might treat a broken bowl or a cockroach or what not. My offhand reaction to that reaction, though, is to wonder whether what I’m thinking about there is so different from cases of someone’s earning my respect through their agency that it is merely equivocal to talk about both as cases of “desert.” Yet cases like these seem closer to Michael’s examples than to cases in which someone earns something through action; Michael’s cases, I take it, treat personhood as a desert-basis, and while personhood might be a matter of the potential or capacity for rational agency, being a person doesn’t strike me as an exercise of agency by virtue of which one earns some sort of moral respect. Perhaps the brain-death and anencephaly cases have to have slightly different desert-bases (roughly, disabled personhood, marred personhood, or something like that), but if personhood in Michael’s cases is a desert basis, then however we specify the basis in the brain-death/anencephaly cases, it too should be understood as a basis of desert. Michael’s reason for resisting the suggestion that we eliminate desert language in such cases or reduce them to obligations grounded in other considerations is that there seem to be appropriate observer responses that aren’t accounted for solely in terms of those obligations. That reason seems just as powerful in cases like brain-death and anencephaly, where taking the fitting attitude may turn out to be most of what is at stake.

        I don’t mean to make this point primarily about the conflict between judgments about how to treat brain-dead or anencephalic human beings. I mean it to be a point that survives even if judgments of the sort I’m inclined to make turn out to be normatively unsustainable for some reason. The thought is: this is an intuitive judgment of desert akin to the sorts Michael highlights, it’s a sort of judgment with which many sympathize, and so it ought not to be ruled out of court straightaway by a general account of what desert is. Perhaps that’s entirely consistent with the remarks here, though, and all I’m really disagreeing with is the suggestion that the brain-dead or anencephalic deserve or are owed nothing in virtue of what they are.

        The Rand stuff makes me wonder: what kinds of reasons are reasons of desert supposed to be for a Randian egoist? Surely they can’t reduce desert down to what ordinarily happens as a result of a person’s free or virtuous agency if nobody intervenes. If desert is the sort of thing people normally use desert language to talk about, it’s (at least sometimes) a source of reasons for someone else to do or not do something to the deserving person; it’s something that’s supposed to enter into the deliberations of a reasonable person, as something that tells in favor, whether decisively or not, of acting or not acting in some way. But how is the alleged fact that M deserves X for Y supposed to give an egoistic agent a reason to do anything? Of course, if ‘deserves X’ just means that suitably situated people ought to give or allow X to M, and I am a suitably situated person, then the desert claim will simply assert that I ought to give or allow X to M. That would, I take it, make desert too relative to the interests of others (I deserve for you to let me live if your letting me live is sufficiently in your interests; that is too much about you and not enough about me). But if the true desert claim is supposed to give me a reason (you should let me live because I deserve to live), then how is egoistic rationality supposed to account for it? I think I have a fairly solid outline of a view about how a eudaimonist rationality can countenance such things, but I don’t see how a more reductive egoism such as I understand Rand’s to be (primarily on the basis of Roderick’s Reason and Value and some scattered readings) could possibly make sense of the structure of ordinary desert claims. (Maybe) more interestingly, though, it seems to me that at least some of Sher’s desert claims will be inconsistent even with a less reductive eudaimonist view of practical reasoning; he seems to want to let claims like “M ought to have X” be true, non-metaphorical, and practically relevant, and for that I think he’ll need some sort of robustly agent-neutral or impersonal reasons of a sort that are inconsistent with eudaimonism.

        I think this response might be too rambly to respond properly to what you guys have written. Sorry; I’m recovering from a day of arguing strenuously with high schoolers maintaining such challenging positions as “everyone does everything for the sake of survival, because dopamine makes us feel good,” “non-human animals do not differ from human beings in nature, they just can’t do the same things humans can,” and “other animals have the same basic desires that human beings do, even though they engage in no behaviors that can only be explained if we understand them as having such desires,” so I am not only tired, but might have declined in intelligence over the course of the day.

        Liked by 1 person

        • My offhand reaction to the suggestion that the brain dead or those born with anencephaly don’t deserve much of anything is to reject it as absurd until it’s been proven to be an irresistible conclusion from true premises, because it seems obviously absurd to suggest that just any way of treating a brain dead or anencephalic human being would be as good as any other, subject only to external considerations. One needn’t have a strong sense of exactly how one ought to treat such human beings to retain the conviction that they’re owed some sort of respect or reverence inconsistent with treating them the way one might treat a broken bowl or a cockroach or what not.

          That’s all I meant by saying they don’t deserve much. That isn’t much. But whatever respect we owe the brain dead and anecephalic is, I think, compatible with euthanasia as well as letting-die (or whatever lies between the two), and since death cuts off almost all further obligations of the sort we owe the living, we’re not left with much, at least as compared with what we owe the living.

          Like

  4. Thanks. Those are helpful comments.

    Does a Safe Harbor element protect us only from the effects of aggregation — or something more or different from this (that is also not covered by the ‘easily enough’ element)? We definitely need protection from intuitive-enough aggregation effects and I think most folks who theorize about something like the Rescue Principle acknowledge this. I like calling this element Safe Harbor and it seems right that you would need this element as part of a true Rescue Principle.

    (This broadly egoism vs. altruism issue in normative ethics is addressed nicely, as the premise for a great science fiction novel, in Nancy Kress’s Beggars in Spain. The beggars keep coming and when have you — the able, the achievers, her highly-accomplished literally sleepless people — given enough? It is easy to read Kress as responding to Rand here (and elsewhere). Her premise here seems to regard a no-Safe-Harbor kind of Rescue Principle as the obvious — but impossible — alternative to something like Randian egoism.)

    https://nancykress.com/beggars-in-spain/

    I think the same goes for my more-general principle, meant to cover all cases in which need grounds obligations (and hence desert): you need something like Safe Harbor built-in. Call my more-general principle the Need Principle. It also seems that the right Need Principle would need a slot for the add-on augmenting/diminished (and sometimes defeating) factor of whether the needy person is virtuous or vicious (this calibrates how much is owed and even whether anything is owed on the primary basis of need). Obviously, I’m thinking of this as an element in the principle, not as a competing principle to weight against the Need Principle (I think this is right, but I’m not sure). Call this element Virtue Response. A true Need Principle seems to need both Safe Harbor and Virtue Response elements. And perhaps more! This makes the Need Principle more complicated (and more difficult to translate into actionable rules for specific contexts of moral decision and action).

    Liked by 1 person

    • For now, I’ll leave it at the quick comment that a Safe Harbor Principle at least has to protect us from the effects of aggregation. I suspect that it has to do more, but that much I can say off the top of my head. The rest I have to think about.

      Thanks for the reference to the Nancy Kress story. Here’s one in return, of a very different type, but in the same moral vicinity–Robert Frost’s poem, “Love and a Question”:

      https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/53000/love-and-a-question

      Separate point: It occurred to me while thinking about this that Sher’s troublesome case (4) for the expected consequence account is too weakly stated (Desert, p. 45). He describes this case as involving “the harmful effects of self-sacrificing action,” but an action needn’t be self-sacrificing to be troublesome in the relevant way. The expected adverse consequences of any praiseworthy action fits the bill, self-sacrificing or not.

      Take the occupational hazards of a praiseworthy job. Include only the expected hazards, and exclude the “disastrous” or wildly disproportionate consequences of those. Not all of the remaining adverse consequences will, intuitively, be deserved even if they’re fully expected and non-disastrous.

      E.g.: A nurse may, in choosing to do hospital work, expect to be crapped and vomited on, but it would be a stretch to say that she deserves those things. A construction worker can expect, in the course of doing the job, to be cut, scratched, and bruised .But those harms aren’t “deserved” in any plausible sense.

      It seems to me that examples of this sort can be multiplied indefinitely, and don’t really fit Sher’s categories of troublesome exceptions to the expected consequence account. In assuming the risks of something, we can have an obligation to put up with the expected adverse consequences, and there may be a sense in which we have them “coming” to us, but it’s very counter-intuitive to say that we deserve them. I’m not sure about the positive consequences, but mutatis mutandis, something similar may be true of them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I really enjoyed the poem.

        And: that is exactly where I stand on the Safe Harbor Principle. I suspect that it should protect against more than just aggregation, but I haven’t thought about it enough. Maybe some of that depends on how the Rescue Principle (or the more general principle I’m calling the Need Principle) is formulated. E.g., it seems that, if a Need Principle is formulated as a simple ratio, then you want a more expansive safe harbor (but I suspect this is the wrong way to formulate the Need Principle).

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s