Equality, risk and responsibility: Dworkin on the insurance market

Chris Armstrong

in Rethinking Equality

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780719069246
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701287 | DOI:
Equality, risk and responsibility: Dworkin on the insurance market

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This chapter focuses on Ronald Dworkin's egalitarian theory and the resonances between liberal equality and the neoliberal conception of active citizenship. It looks at Dworkin's account of equality of resources, which is often taken as the point of departure for a hugely influential school of egalitarian thought, namely ‘luck egalitarianism’. The most significant element of the luck egalitarian literature is the foregrounding of notions of personal responsibility and individual choice, which according to its advocates not only give shape and force to egalitarian concerns, but also allow it to meet head-on the most significant opponent of equality — the ideology of the New Right. This chapter also scrutinises Dworkin's advocacy of a hypothetical insurance market, which closely parallels many of the shifts within welfare provision that have taken place since the rebirth of neoliberalism. Dworkin's achievement, at the level of political theory, has been precisely to incorporate liberal egalitarianism within a broadly neoliberal framework.

Keywords: Ronald Dworkin; egalitarian theory; liberal equality; neoliberalism; active citizenship; luck egalitarianism; personal responsibility; individual choice; New Right; insurance market

Chapter.  11364 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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