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Egalitarianism and the Generation of Inequality$
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Henry Phelps Brown

Print publication date: 1988

Print ISBN-13: 9780198286486

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198286481.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Egalitarianism and the Generation of Inequality

Henry Phelps Brown

Oxford University Press

Points out and elaborates on the facts that aspiration to greater equality has become widespread in contemporary societies and that this belief is not restricted just to socialists, but is also maintained by a wider political spectrum. It goes on to discuss the meaning of equality, treating three aspects of it separately––equal treatment, equality of opportunity, and equality of consideration. It is noted that through most of the twentieth century, public policy in the UK has promoted all three types of equality. The historical changes in attitude that this has required are traced in the context of explaining that this is what Part I of the book addresses. It is also emphasized that a historical study is necessary for the appraisal of ‘modern’ egalitarianism advanced in Part III, and that such an assessment requires in addition a detailed knowledge of modern circumstances as represented by the statistical study of income and wealth distribution presented in Part II.

Keywords:   egalitarianism, equal treatment, equality, equality of consideration, equality of opportunity, history, income distribution, inequality, sociology, wealth distribution

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