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Jonathan Wolff and Avner de-Shalit

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199278268

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199278268.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction

Jonathan Wolff (Contributor Webpage)

Avner De-Shalit

Oxford University Press

Beginning with the story of Leah — an Israeli woman who suffers from lack of control over her life — this introductory chapter raises the key questions discussed in the book and discusses differences and similarities between the moral demands of priority to the least advantage, sufficiency, and equality. It is argued that redistributive policies which do not adequately reach the very worst off are likely to have destructive effects on many aspects of society, and that in practice, there is a consensus among egalitarians to search for priority to the least advantaged. In addition, the chapter locates the arguments of the book within the debate as to whether egalitarianism should focus on matters of distribution alone, or whether issues of social structure (often referred to as social equality) should instead be its focus. The rest of the chapter summarizes the book's argument and discusses the method of research.

Keywords:   distribution, equality, least advantaged, priority, sufficiency, social equality

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