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BottlenecksA New Theory of Equal Opportunity$
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Joseph Fishkin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199812141

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199812141.001.0001

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Opportunities and Human Development

Opportunities and Human Development

Chapter:
(p.83) II Opportunities and Human Development
Source:
Bottlenecks
Author(s):

Joseph Fishkin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199812141.003.0002

This chapter demonstrates that it is useful to ground a theory of equal opportunity on an understanding of human development. The chapter tells a story of the iterative interactions between person and environment that in a sedimentary way, over time, make each of us into who we are. These interactions confound any attempt to disaggregate genetics and environment, nature and nurture, yet they explain how we all develop our abilities, ambitions, and goals. Understanding this iterative process illuminates why no two sets of opportunities can be precisely “equal” even in theory; why it is impossible to solve the problem of equal opportunity in childhood; and why it does not make sense to characterize equal opportunity as the state of affairs where people can rise as far as their talents and efforts permit.

Keywords:   human development, abilities, talents, efforts, ambitions, genetics, environment, nature, nurture, equal opportunity

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