Disadvantage and an American Society of Equals

In this article I review Jonathan Wolff and Avner de‐Shalit’s recent book Disadvantage (2007), highlighting its many contributions to egalitarian theory and practice. These contributions build to the authors’ central prescription: that policy‐makers work to create a society of equals by reducing the tendency for disadvantages to cluster around certain individuals or groups. From there, I discuss the idea of declustering disadvantage in an American context, and consider its implications for the politically salient ideal of equality of opportunity. The purpose of this discussion is not to posit Wolff and de‐Shalit’s theory of disadvantage as a theory of justice as equal opportunity. Instead, I illustrate their approach by reference to an influential theory of justice, whose proponents include those taken to affirm the authors’ consensual starting point.
Keywords Egalitarianism  Equality of Opportunity
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DOI 10.1080/09692290.2010.517990
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Justice as Fairness: A Restatement.John Rawls - 2001 - Harvard University Press.

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