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March 28, 2011


Paul Sagar

"I’d be interested to see how Lib Dems do so."

Nick Clegg has spectacular form here. he basically just redefines redistribution, poverty, inequality and justice. Search for Stuart White's various peices at Next Left for scathing analyses.

Martyn Griffin

The same Nick Clegg who is making it compulsory for universities to take students from poorer backgrounds even if these children performed worse at school than richer children? That strikes me as exactly the type of policy that a luck egalitarian would endorse :)

The Silent Sceptic

The 'Luck Egalitarianism' definition seems to choose a completely arbitrary boundary beyond which equality isn't rebalanced. What about if you're unlucky enough to be born bone idle?

How many 'free choices' do we really have?

Sarah AB

@Martyn - A five-year study tracking 8,000 A-level candidates found that a comprehensive pupil with the grades BBB is likely to perform as well in their university degree as an independent or grammar school pupil with 2 As and a B.



We are such a class-conscious society in Britain, that if you apply dedication to your skill and become valuable enough to freelance, you now find hostility and passive aggression from employed people you need to work with. It wasn't always like this. Since Labour harped on about distribution, it has become very difficult to earn greater pay. The result is that directors of larger companies (freelance clients) are increasingly using cheaper slave labour, and retaining the profits. Thus exacerbating the inequality problem.


Family background may have a certain weight in how rich or poor we are as it is in our family that we learn the first financial lessons: saving money, buying things, looking for prices, asking for budgets and so on. However, I dont think that our background is a determining factor in deciding whether we are rich or we are not.

john h

I'd like to temper your characterisation of the basic luck egalitarian claim.

I do not think it is that insofar as one's advantages are down to luck they are impermissible. rather, it is that it is a good thing ceteris paribus other things equal if one's advantages are not down to luck.

What this means is that even though equality of luck is a good thing it does not wholly determine what is permissible. Other values might outweigh it.

So, this still allows the classic levelling down criticism of egalitarianism to have force. One could still be a luck egalitarian and believe that one should never level down (i.e. make the best off worse off even if it does not help the worst off in any way) because making the best off worse off is bad in a different way.

This is at least what luck egalitarians shoudl think, though they are not often very clear about this.


assuming that intergenerational mobility is measured by comparing the income decile of parents with the income decile of their offspring, it seems normal that a country with a more compressed income distribution would come out of the study with a larger such mobility.

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Histories make men wise ; poems witty; the mathematics subtle; natural philosophy deep ; moral grave ; logic and rhetoric able to contend .

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Household underpinning level would have a certain weight in how rich or underprivileged we are as it is in our household that we study the first budgetary lessons.

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