Skip to main content
How the Sufficiency Minimum Becomes a Social Maximum
Utilitas (2010)
  • Karl Widerquist
This article argues that, under likely empirical conditions, sufficientarianism leads not to an easily achievable duty to maintain a social minimum but to the onerous duty of maintaining a social maximum at the sufficiency level. This happens because sufficientarians ask us to give no weight at all to small benefits for people above the sufficiency level if the alternative is to relieve the suffering of people below it. If we apply this judgment in a world where there are rare diseases and hard-to-prevent accidents that cause people to fall below the sufficiency threshold, all of our discretionary spending will have to be devoted to bringing harder and harder cases up to sufficiency. Nothing will be left for anyone to consume above the sufficiency level.
Publication Date
December, 2010
Citation Information
Karl Widerquist. "How the Sufficiency Minimum Becomes a Social Maximum" Utilitas Vol. 22 Iss. 4 (2010)
Available at: