EQUALITY OF CONDITION
Inequality of condition, Equality of opportunity, Inequality of opportunity
Where there is very little difference in individuals'
possession of wealth, status and power,
there is equality of condition. Does not exist in any complex society.
In the treatise What is Property? (1849), Pierre Proudhon's
fundamental premise is that equality of condition is the essence of justice.
Equality of condition, also known as equality of outcome,
is a form of egalitarianism which seeks to reduce or
eliminate differences in material condition between individuals or households in a
Equality in education - An equality of condition
perspective - Kathleen Lynch, John Baker, Equality Studies Centre,
Transforming schools into truly egalitarian institutions requires a holistic and
integrated approach. Using a robust conception of equality of condition, we
examine key dimensions of equality that are central to both the purposes and processes of
education: equality in educational and related resources; equality of respect and
recognition; equality of power; and equality of love, care and solidarity. We indicate in
each case some of the major changes that need to occur if we are to promote equality of
condition. Starting with inequalities of resources, and in particular with inequalities
tied to social class, we argue for abandoning rigid grouping policies, challenging the
power of parents in relation to both selection and grouping, and changing curricula and
assessment systems to make them more inclusive of the wide range of human intelligences.
In relation to respect and recognition, we call for much more inclusive processes for
respecting differences, not only in schools organizational cultures, but also in
their curriculum, pedagogy and assessment systems. Regarding inequalities of power, we
call for democratization of both teacher-student relationships and school and college
organization. For promoting equality of love, care and solidarity, we argue that schools
need to develop an appreciation of the intrinsic role that emotions play in the process of
teaching and learning, to provide a space for students and teachers to talk about their
feelings and concerns, and to devise educational experiences that will enable students to
develop their emotional skills or personal intelligences as a discrete area of human
capability. - tre.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/3/2/131
Luck And Equality, Richard J. Arneson
Does it make sense to hold that, if it is bad that some people are worse off than others,
it is worse if those who are worse off come to be so through sheer bad luck that it is
beyond their power to control? In her contribution to this symposium, Susan Hurley
cautions against a closely related fallacy: from the fact that people have come to an
unequal condition through unchosen bad luck, it does not follow that, if we aim to undo
the influence of unchosen luck, we ought to institute equality of condition. Forswearing
the fallacy that Hurley analyses is compatible with answering the question affirmatively,
and more generally with holding that principles of distributive justice should be
sensitive to the distinction between chosen and unchosen bad luck. This essay explores how
this might be done.- blackwell-synergy.com
An Argument for Equality of Condition, Thomas
Christiano - mora.rente.nhh.no
I propose in this paper to give an argument for the principle of equality of condition.
The argument attempts to establish the intrinsic justice of equality of condition at least
for a limited range of cases. I think that the argument can be extended to a larger range
What I will do in this paper is give an account of equality of condition as I understand
it. Then I will say why an argument for equality is desirable. I will lay out the
principle of formal justice from which I proceed and a number of subsidiary principles.
Then I will give the basic argument for equality of condition, along the way criticizing
sufficiency theories. I will then go on to outline some ways in which equality can justly
What is Equality of Condition?
We need to distinguish distinct conceptions of equality here. First, we might think of
equality as a merely good making property of states of affairs say in the way that Larry
Temkin conceives of it. Temkin seems to think of equality as a kind of intrinsic good
along with other intrinsic goods such as well being and that we should try to bring about
as much of it as possible.1 We can think of equality in a purely formal sense as
understood by Aristotle when he says that justice is equality. This is distinct from the
principle of equality that I will defend but it is a premise that I will use in the
defense of equality of condition. We can understand equality as fundamental equality in
the sense that all human beings have the same fundamental moral status.
The Philosophy and Politics of Equality of Condition
John Baker - mora.rente.nhh.no - John.Baker@ucd.ie.
Equality Studies Centre and Department of Politics, University College Dublin.
INEQUALITY OF CONDITION
Where individuals have very different amounts of wealth,
status and power. Characteristic of all complex modern societies.
Equality of condition
is often present in small-scale, hunter-gatherer societies.
Inequality of opportunity
Where differences in individual possession of wealth, status and power result in definite
advantages and disadvantages in the pursuit of personal success.
"Sympathy is rarely strong where there is a great
inequality of condition." - Macaulay.
Reducing inequality of condition is the central aim of huge and expensive welfare states,
with not only income support for the poor, but excellent education and health care at all
income levels. Britain is somewhat less serious, and the USA hasn't been serious since
We cannot have equality of opportunity without equality of condition. Inequality of
condition, like soft discrimination, hurts a child throughout a child's life.
Equality of opportunity is, of course, quite consistent with inequality of condition. But
is not the same as two runners given an even start, and equally good tracks. Inequality of
condition does not necessarily = inequality of opportunity.
When it comes to general measurement of inequality of condition, inequality of consumption
is probably more appropriate than inequality of income.
Measuring opportunity - KRYMKOWSKI Daniel H.
In American political discourse, a distinction is often made between inequality of
condition and inequality of opportunity. The former involves the distribution of valued
rewards in society, while the latter has to do with access to these rewards. In terms of
scientific work, much more progress has been made on the study of inequality of condition
than on the study of inequality of opportunity. This paper proposes an approach to
defining and measuring inequality of opportunity that avoids many of the problems found in
previous research. In particular, my method: (1) is consistent with contemporary usage of
the opportunity concept, (2) differentiates opportunity from outcome, in that opportunity
is defined as the chance of achieving a goal, (3) takes into account the fact that people
have different chances of developing certain goals, and (4) allows the measurement of
inequality of opportunity at both the individual and group levels. The approach is
illustrated utilizing occupational data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. The
empirical analysis reveals less inequality of occupational opportunity than inequality of
income, somewhat more inequality of occupational opportunity among men than women, and
more occupational opportunity among women than men. - Mathematical Sociology in Japan and
America. Conference, Honolulu, Hawai , ETATS-UNIS (23/06/2002) 2001, vol. 25.
Disquisition on Government, John C. Calhoun, 1840 - Excerpt
"Equality of citizens, in the eyes of the law, is essential to liberty in a popular
government, is conceded. But to go further, and make equality of condition essential to
liberty, would be to destroy both liberty and progress. The reason is, that inequality of
condition, while it is a necessary consequence of liberty, is, at the same time,
indispensable to progress. In order to understand why this is so, it is necessary to bear
in mind, that the main spring to progress is, the desire of individuals to better their
condition; and that the strongest impulse which can be given to it is, to leave
individuals free to exert themselves in the manner they may deem best for that purpose, as
far at least as it can be done consistently with the ends for which government is
ordained,and to secure to all the fruits of their exertions. Now, as individuals
differ greatly from each other, in intelligence, sagacity, energy, perseverance, skill,
habits of industry and economy, physical power, position and opportunity,the
necessary effect of leaving all free to exert themselves to better their condition, must
be a corresponding inequality between those who may possess these qualities and advantages
in a high degree, and those who may be deficient in them. The only means by which this
result can be prevented are, either to impose such restrictions on the exertions of those
who may possess them in a high degree, as will place them on a level with those who do
not; or to deprive them of the fruits of their exertions. But to impose such restrictions
on the exertions on them would be destructive of liberty,while, to deprive them of
the fruits of their exertions, would be to destroy the desire of bettering their
condition. It is, indeed, this inequality of condition between the front and rear ranks,
in the march of progress, which gives so strong an impulse to the former to maintain their
position, and to the latter to press forward into their files. This gives to progress its
greatest impulse. To force the front rank back to the rear, or attempt to push forward the
rear into line with the front, by the interposition of the government, would put an end to
the impulse, and effectually arrest the march of progress."
INEQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY IN COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE: Recent Research on Educational
Attainment and Social Mobility, Richard Breen and Jan O. Jonsson
Annual Review of Sociology Vol. 31: 223-243 (Volume publication date August 2005)
Studies of how characteristics of the family of origin are associated with educational and
labor market outcomes indicate the degree of openness of societies and have a long
tradition in sociology. We review research published since 1990 into educational
stratification and social (occupational or class) mobility, focusing on the importance of
parental socioeconomic circumstances, and with particular emphasis on comparative studies.
Large-scale data now available from many countries and several time points have led to
more and better descriptions of inequality of opportunity across countries and over time.
However, partly owing to problems of comparability of measurement, unambiguous conclusions
about trends and ranking of countries have proven elusive. In addition, no strong evidence
exists that explains intercountry differences. We conclude that the 1990s witnessed a
resurgence of microlevel models, mostly of a rational choice type, that signals an
increased interest in moving beyond description in stratification research. -
"This, I think, gives us two kinds of reasons to worry about inequality of condition.
One is that inequality of condition undermines equality of opportunity, which is an
important value. Another is that inequality of condition in part reflects previous unequal
opportunities, which is unjust. Of course, you don't want to do too much to advance
equality of condition, since taken to extremes that would undermine everyone's prosperity.
Nor do you want to go too far in efforts at generating equal opportunities or you'll
fatally undermine liberty. But you do want to do some of both. Both are important values,
they're mutually re-enforcing, but neither one can be realized at the limit without
undermining yet other important values." - Matthew Yglesias is a writer living in
Washington, DC. - matthewyglesias.com