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Do All Persons Have Equal Moral Worth?On 'Basic Equality' and Equal Respect and Concern$
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Uwe Steinhoff

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198719502

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198719502.001.0001

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Do Liberal Egalitarians Really Believe in Equality Given Their Commitment to Equality of Opportunity?

Do Liberal Egalitarians Really Believe in Equality Given Their Commitment to Equality of Opportunity?

Chapter:
(p.173) 9 Do Liberal Egalitarians Really Believe in Equality Given Their Commitment to Equality of Opportunity?
Source:
Do All Persons Have Equal Moral Worth?
Author(s):

Jiwei Ci

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198719502.003.0009

This chapter argues that according to the modern liberal notion of equality it is only as suitably neutralized individuals that people are equal, and that this qualitative equality leaves a lot of room for quantitative inequality. Thus, the equality most widely valued in modern societies is chiefly a matter of opportunity. It argues that this is problematic on three counts: equality of opportunity leads to a damaging inequality in the value of individual identities; the competitive activities typically governed by the spirit of equality of opportunity have a tendency to cause the breakdown of collective practices and their substitution by an impoverishing regime of self-constitution; and one important part of this regime—mass consumption—makes the realization of equality as inclusiveness unsustainable. Thus, it not only questions liberal egalitarianism’s credentials as a doctrine of equality, but also points to pragmatic and systemic contradictions that might arise with its political implementation.

Keywords:   competition, equality, equality of opportunity, identity, inclusiveness, liberal egalitarianism, neutralization, mass consumption, self-constitution

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