Welfare, Resources, and Luck-Egalitarianism
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law
European University Institute Law Working Paper No. 2007/05
The leading discourse about luck egalitarianism has been informed by the distinction between equality of welfare and equality of resources. This paper attempts to illuminate its significance by focusing on the status of individual preferences (in particular, preferences which are particularly costly to satisfy) as regards egalitarian distribution. It then considers another distinction: that between "persons" and "circumstances" to see how it correlates with the central moral intuition which triggers the egalitarian approach, namely that social inequalities should be allowed to reflect the choices people make in the course of their lives. I argue that if we consistently maintain the centrality of choice for the whole theory, and construct the technical concept of "resources" accordingly, we may well realize that the gap between "equality of welfare" and "equality of resources" is not as wide as many theorists of luck egalitarianism would have us believe. Finally, I address head-on the crucial issue lying in the background of this whole discussion: is the aspiration to eliminate systemically the impact of bad luck egalitarian? Against many critics of luck-egalitarianism, I claim that it is, but only contingently rather than inherently and necessarily.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 28
Keywords: equality, non-discrimination, social justiceworking papers series
Date posted: March 8, 2007
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