Book

Equality and the British Left

Ben Jackson

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780719073069
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701454 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719073069.001.0001
Equality and the British Left

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The demand for equality was at the heart of the politics of the Left in the twentieth century, but what did theorists and politicians on the British Left mean when they said they were committed to ‘equality’? How did they argue for a more egalitarian society? Which policies did they think could best advance their egalitarian ideals? This book provides comprehensive answers to these questions. It charts debates about equality from the progressive liberalism and socialism of the early twentieth century to the arrival of the New Left and revisionist social democracy in the 1950s. Along the way, the book examines and reassesses the egalitarian political thought of many significant figures in the history of the British Left, including L. T. Hobhouse, R. H. Tawney and Anthony Crosland. It demonstrates that the British Left has historically been distinguished from its ideological competitors on the centre and the right by a commitment to a demanding form of economic egalitarianism. The book shows that this egalitarianism has come to be neglected or caricatured by politicians and scholars alike, and is more surprising and sophisticated than is often imagined.

Keywords: equality; British Left; egalitarian society; progressive liberalism; socialism; New Left; revisionist social democracy; economic egalitarianism; early twentieth century; L. T. Hobhouse

Book.  272 pages. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Equality and the British Left

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Riches and poverty in Equality and the British Left

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Fair shares in Equality and the British Left

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Marxists and social democrats in Equality and the British Left

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Means and ends in Equality and the British Left

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Let us face the future in Equality and the British Left

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Conclusion in Equality and the British Left

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