Allen Lane triumphs in four way auction for book against extreme wealth from Robeyns

Allen Lane triumphs in four way auction for book against extreme wealth from Robeyns

Allen Lane has triumphed in a four way auction for a "landmark" book about limiting rich people's wealth from philosopher Ingrid Robeyns.

Chloe Currens, senior commissioning editor at Penguin Press bought UK and Commonwealth rights for Limitarianism from Sophie Scard at United Agents. It will be published in autumn 2023. 

Limitarianism draws on years of original research to "build a complete and authoritative case against extreme wealth" the publisher said. "With unwavering clarity, Robeyns lays out the philosophical and practical reasons why we should not accept wealth above a certain level, from the simple truth that no-one deserves to be superrich, through the drawbacks of philanthropy, to the devastating social and ecological consequences of excess affluence. The book is a landmark contribution, and its call for a cap on wealth will ignite much-needed debate around the world."

Robeyns is a philosopher and economist who holds the chair in ethics of institutions at Utrecht University. She has been elected as a member of the Netherlands Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts, and in 2021 was awarded an Emma Goldman Award for her work on inequality studies and feminism by the FLAX Foundation in Vienna.

She said: “Over the years, I have noticed growing societal and political interest in the idea that, morally speaking, there should be a limit to the amount of wealth a person can have. I am delighted that Penguin will publish my book, in which I will set out the reasons why today’s vast concentration of riches cannot be justified. Extreme wealth is turning democracies into plutocracies, allowing the rich to dominate others, violating principles of ecological justice, and wasting resources that could otherwise be used to address the real needs of the less fortunate, as well as the big problems–like climate change–that haunt us all.

"Most fundamentally, vast wealth can never be morally deserved: it is always the product of good luck, corruption, or the abuse of power. I hope that Limitarianism will empower citizens worldwide to have a better informed conversation about what is wrong with excess wealth, and what we can do about it."

Currens added: "I have long admired Ingrid’s work and couldn’t be happier to be working with her: she brings such bright moral clarity to our heated debates about wealth and inequality. Limitarianism promises to be a transformative book–the product of Ingrid’s unique rigour and vision–which will explode the lingering myths used to justify extreme wealth, and offer us a practical way of reaching a more equitable world.”