Luck egalitarianism and prioritarianism

Ethics 110 (2):339-349 (2000)
Abstract
In her recent, provocative essay “What Is the Point of Equality?”, Elizabeth Anderson argues against a common ideal of egalitarian justice that she calls “luck egalitarianism” and in favor of an approach she calls “democratic equality.”1 According to the luck egalitarian, the aim of justice as equality is to eliminate so far as is possible the impact on people’s lives of bad luck that falls on them through no fault or choice of their own. In the ideal luck egalitarian society, there are no inequalities in people’s life prospects except those that arise through processes of voluntary choice or faulty conduct, for which the agents involved can reasonably be held responsible. Anderson asserts that the adherents of luck egalitarianism, which can be elaborated in many different ways, include John Roemer, Erik Rakowski, Thomas Nagel, Ronald Dworkin, Gerald Cohen, Richard Arneson, and (with a qualification) Philippe Van Parijs.2 In contrast, according to the democratic equality conception, justice as equality requires an end to oppressive social relationships. In the ideal society of democratic equality, the social conditions of everyone’s freedom are secured, each stands to every other in a relationship of fundamental equality, including equal respect, and all have real freedom to participate in democratic self-government.
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Citations of this work BETA
Carl Knight (2013). Luck Egalitarianism. Philosophy Compass 8 (10):924-934.
Robert Huseby (2010). Sufficiency: Restated and Defended. Journal of Political Philosophy 18 (2):178-197.
Carl Knight (2013). Egalitarian Justice and Expected Value. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (5):1061-1073.
Mark Navin (2011). Luck and Oppression. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (5):533-547.

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