The Promise of Predistribution

Policy Network - Predistribution and the Crisis in Living Standards (2012)

Martin O'Neill
University of York
If pursued with serious intent, Pre-distribution has the capacity to create an exciting and radical new agenda for social democracy. But the politics of Pre-distribution cannot be innocuous or uncontroversial. In its more radical forms, predistribution is a potentially radical and inspiring project for social democrats who have come to see the limitations of the old ways of doing things. It’s a project that promises a strategy to deliver abundantly on values of social justice, economic freedom, and equality of opportunity. But it’s a project that involves going head-to-head with entrenched interests, breaking up existing concentrations of wealth and economic power. The politics of Pre-distribution, if taken seriously, simply cannot be a politics without enemies. Labour must decide whether its engagement with pre-distribution is to be limited to tinkering at the edges of neoliberalism, or whether it will instead fully embrace the opportunities of the present moment, decide to be radical, and realise the full promise of the politics of predistribution.
Keywords predistribution  Rawls  Meade  equality  equality of opportunity  social justice  social democracy  taxation  power  assets
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