—From John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography (1873). Part of this passage was quoted at the end of G.A. Cohen’s chapter on “The Incentives Argument,” in his book, Rescuing Justice and Equality (Harvard University Press, 2008). I was reading afresh the section on the “lax” and “strict” interpretations of Rawls’s “difference principle,” which has to do with the incentives of market-maximizing “high fliers” (like doctors in the U.S., say, in contrast with Cuban doctors, a salient comparison highlighted by the fact that Cuba provides ‘more medical personnel to the developing world than all the G8 countries combined’). As Cohen writes in the conclusion to his chapter, “Rawls’s lax application of his difference principle [which is nonetheless justified in some policy contexts] means ‘giving to those who have.’ He presents the incentive policy as a feature of the just society, whereas it is in fact, and as Mill says, just ‘highly expedient’ in society as we know it, a sober ‘compromise with the selfish type of character’ formed by capitalism. Philosophers in search of justice should not be content with an expedient compromise. To call expediency justice goes against the regeneration to which Mill looked forward at the end of this fine passage.” In other words: “high fliers would forgo incentives properly so-called in a full compliance society governed by the difference principle [i.e., on a strict reading thereof] and characterized by fraternity and universal dignity.”
 In one of its formulations, the principle states “that inequalities are just if and only if they are necessary to make the worst off people in society better than they would otherwise be.” Cohen “disagree[s] sharply with Rawls on the matter of which inequalities pass the test for justifying inequality it sets and, therefore, about how much inequality passes the test.” The kernel of Cohen’s critique of Rawls on this score is that he does not apply the difference principle “in censure of the self-seeking choices of high-flying marketeers, choices which induce an inequality that...is harmful to the badly off.” See, in addition to the more thorough treatment in Rescuing Justice and Equality (2008), the (rhetorically) accessible analysis provided in Cohen’s Gifford Lectures (1996) and published in his book, If You’re an Egalitarian, How Come You’re So Rich? (Harvard University Press, 2000): 117-133.
 See, for example, John M. Kirk and H. Michael Erisman, Cuban Medical Internationalism: Origins, Evolution, and Goals (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), and Steve Brouwer, “The Cuban Revolutionary Doctor: The Ultimate Weapon of Solidarity,” Monthly Review, January 2009 (Vol. 60, No. 8).