Equality of Resources and the Problem of Recognition

Res Publica 17 (2):157-174 (2011)
Authors
Rasmus Hansen
Copenhagen Business School
Abstract
Liberal egalitarianism is commonly criticized for being insufficiently sensitive to status inequalities and the effects of misrecognition. I examine this criticism as it applies to Ronald Dworkin’s ‘equality of resources’ and argue that, in fact, liberal egalitarians possess the resources to deal effectively with recognition-type issues. More precisely, while conceding that the distributive principles required to realize equality of resources must apply against a particular institutional background, I point out, following Dworkin, that among the principles guiding this background is a ‘principle of independence,’ and that this principle, properly interpreted, requires government to protect people against the disadvantageous effects of wrongful prejudicial discrimination. Moreover, I give an account of wrongful prejudice which is grounded in a particular interpretation of the abstract egalitarian principle Dworkin requires for a government to be legitimate and which goes a long way toward acknowledging status inequalities. Finally, I suggest other resources within the theory for responding to residual problems of recognition not addressed by the principle of independence
Keywords Fraser  Dworkin  Equality of resources  Recognition and status  Prejudice  Discrimination
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DOI 10.1007/s11158-011-9146-2
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