Eighteenth‐Century Developments Propitious to Egalitarianism

Henry Phelps Brown

in Egalitarianism and the Generation of Inequality

Published in print November 1988 | ISBN: 9780198286486
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596773 | DOI:
 Eighteenth‐Century Developments Propitious to Egalitarianism

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Much more is required than faith in the equality of man before egalitarianism can offer itself even as a notion of policy; at least three conditions may be specified. First, personal resources must be reduced to and summed up in a common unit, such as money––monetization must occur. Second, administrative means should exist with which to transfer resources––taxation that can cream off the higher incomes and forms of social benefit to raise the lower incomes; each of these must be capable of adjustment to the circumstances of the individual taxpayer or beneficiary. Third, there must be fellow feeling, which goes beyond recognizing that different persons have equal rights under the law, or deploring the contrast between riches and poverty: it means accepting an identity of interest and concern between each and all. This chapter explores in its three sections how each of these three conditions came closer to realization in the course of the eighteenth century.

Keywords: egalitarianism; equality; history; identity of concern; identity of interest; income distribution; monetization; rights; taxation

Chapter.  19691 words. 

Subjects: Public Economics

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