Chapter

The Basis of 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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198286481.003.0018
 The Basis of Egalitarianism

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The two preceding parts of the book, which were concerned with the history of ideas and the formation of actual distributions of income and wealth, have prepared the way for a final assessment of egalitarianism in principle and in practice in the last part of this book. Various applications of egalitarianism to the distributions of income and wealth have been distinguished according to whether they called for equality of treatment, of opportunity, or of consideration, and underlying all these is the same judgement of what is morally right in human relations: transactions and dispositions that are in some sense equal are only fair and only just. So stated, the judgement is inescapable: no one can be in favour of injustice; the principle of equality admits of debate only in application to particular circumstances, but it is also only here that its content becomes manifest. This chapter takes up the linked questions of what the principle of equality calls for in particular applications, what claim it makes (so understood) upon us, to what sorts of transactions or relations it is applied, and what is there in it that commands assent. The two sections of the chapter discuss first, applications of equality, and second, egalitarianism of the indistinguishable self––Rawl's Theory of Justice.

Keywords: assessment; egalitarianism; equality; income distribution; Rawl's Theory of Justice; wealth distribution

Chapter.  10752 words. 

Subjects: Public Economics

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