On the next Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll chat live on "Responsibility & Luck, Chapter Five" with listeners. The live broadcast begins at 6 pm PT / 7 MT / 8 CT / 9 ET on Sunday, 6 November 2014. If you can't attend live, be sure to listen to the podcast later.

Unequal Incomes in Marriage

Webcast Q&A: 30 January 2011, Question 1

I answered a question on unequal incomes in marriage for Philosophy in Action Radio on 30 January 2011. You can listen to or download the podcast segment below – or check out the whole episode.

Is it moral to have a sugarmomma or sugardaddy? My fiancee and I both have demanding careers, but she earns several times more than I. How should a married couple with very different incomes share income and/or expenses? If we agree to split household expenses evenly, my lower income is a significant constraint on her enjoyment, e.g., she can't buy an expensive house because I can't afford half of it. On the other hand, if we split expenses unevenly or if we treat all income as pooled, it seems that I'm benefiting lavishly from things I didn't produce. Is it moral for me to enjoy an expensive hobby which I couldn't have afforded on my own? I'd love to hear more about how you and Paul manage income and expenses, and especially what ethical principles apply.

My Answer, In Brief: Money shared by two productive people in marriage is not unearned, but part of integration of two lives into single whole. Whatever their incomes and expenses, spouses need openly settle on ways to fairly structure their finances.

Tags: Finances, Marriage


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About Philosophy in Action

I'm Dr. Diana Hsieh. I'm a philosopher specializing in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback, as well as for Kindle and Nook. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."

My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on Sunday mornings and most Thursday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Thursday evenings, I interview an expert guest or chat about a topic of interest.

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