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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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Eighteenth‐Century Developments Propitious to Egalitarianism

Eighteenth‐Century Developments Propitious to Egalitarianism

(p.122) 4 Eighteenth‐Century Developments Propitious to Egalitarianism
Egalitarianism and the Generation of Inequality

Henry Phelps Brown

Oxford University Press

Much more is required than faith in the equality of man before egalitarianism can offer itself even as a notion of policy; at least three conditions may be specified. First, personal resources must be reduced to and summed up in a common unit, such as money––monetization must occur. Second, administrative means should exist with which to transfer resources––taxation that can cream off the higher incomes and forms of social benefit to raise the lower incomes; each of these must be capable of adjustment to the circumstances of the individual taxpayer or beneficiary. Third, there must be fellow feeling, which goes beyond recognizing that different persons have equal rights under the law, or deploring the contrast between riches and poverty: it means accepting an identity of interest and concern between each and all. This chapter explores in its three sections how each of these three conditions came closer to realization in the course of the eighteenth century.

Keywords:   egalitarianism, equality, history, identity of concern, identity of interest, income distribution, monetization, rights, taxation

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