The Equality Conundrum

The complexities of egalitarianism are especially frustrating because inequalities are so easy to grasp. C.E.O.s, on average, make almost three hundred times what their employees make; billionaire donors shape our politics; automation favors owners …

The Radicalism of “Equal Opportunity”

You will often hear a distinction drawn between two different kinds of equality: equality of “opportunity” and equality of “outcome.” The people who draw this distinction often say that they believe in the former but not the latter. Equality of “opportunity” is desirable, but equality of “outcome” is not. As they frame it, one of these is fairly basic while the other is radical and frightening. If we were to try to ensure equal “outcomes” we would have to create a colossal social transformation.

Equality of opportunity is linked to lower mortality in Europe

Background This study investigates if intergenerational equality of opportunity is linked to mortality in 30 European countries. Equality of opportunity may lead to greater returns on health investments and, consequently, improved health outcomes. In …

America, Land of Equal Opportunity? Still Not There

Lack of opportunity is a huge source of economic and social dissatisfaction. Income and wealth inequality aren’t pleasant, and many people want some redistribution, but most seem to accept that luck, drive and natural advantages inevitably create some degree of inequality. But when people feel like they don’t have a chance to move up in the world even if they try hard and do all the right things, that’s when they break out the rakes and pitchforks and storm the castle.

How Equal Should Opportunities Be?

In 1864, Abraham Lincoln gave a short speech to a sanitary fair in Baltimore. While the address itself is of little note, it does contain a passage that sheds much light on the character of political debates in America. “The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty,” said Lincoln, “and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing.

The case against equality of opportunity

Everyone wants equality of opportunity. It is not a subject of political debate, but the precondition of political debate. Promises to achieve equality of opportunity, like promises to create jobs or protect America abroad, are the white noise of campaign season, drawing neither notice nor challenge. Respected think tanks like the Brookings Institution establish entire projects devoted to figuring out how to advance equality of opportunity. Raj Chetty and Emmanuel Saez, two of the best microeconomists of their generation, have joined forces to start the Equality of Opportunity Project, which is meant to produce hard numbers about opportunity across time and across regions.

Equality of Opportunity

Equality of opportunity is a political ideal that is opposed to caste hierarchy but not to hierarchy per se. When equality of opportunity prevails, the assignment of individuals to places in the social hierarchy is determined by some form of …


Egalitarianism is a trend of thought in political philosophy. An egalitarian favors equality of some sort: People should get the same, or be treated the same, or be treated as equals, in some respect. An alternative view expands on this …

Virtue and Happiness: Essays in Honour of Julia Annas

Republic V contains two revolutionary proposals for the social organisation of the ideal state, the first that the function of guardianship is to be performed by men and women alike (451c-457b), the second that for the guardians the private household …

In Defence of Luck Egalitarianism

This paper considers issues raised by Elizabeth Anderson’s recent critique of the position she terms ‘luck egalitarianism’. It is maintained that luck egalitarianism, once clarified and elaborated in certain regards, remains the strongest egalitarian …