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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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The Significance of the Statistical Record

The Significance of the Statistical Record

(p.465) 16 The Significance of the Statistical Record
Egalitarianism and the Generation of Inequality

Henry Phelps Brown

Oxford University Press

Reasons were given in the Introduction to this book for approaching an assessment of egalitarianism by way of a study of actual distributions of income and wealth. Information about the actual state of affairs evidently affects the choice of practical policy, but it will influence judgement about the ends no less than the means. That judgement is formed not by contemplating a Platonic essence of equality, the same beneath all its manifestations, but in reaction to particular circumstances, or in the light of our view of them. This chapter accordingly is meant to bring out some of the ways in which that view is affected by knowledge of the facts as those have been surveyed in Part II of the book. These matters are discussed in four sections: The form and extent of inequality; How distributions are generated; The sources of past change; and The possibilities of deliberate change.

Keywords:   change, deliberate change, egalitarianism, equality, income distribution, inequality, statistics, wealth distribution

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