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Egalitarianism (from French égal, meaning 'equal'), or equalitarianism, is a school of thought within political philosophy that prioritizes equality for all people. Egalitarian doctrines are generally characterized by the idea that all humans are equal in fundamental worth or moral status.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary , the term has two distinct definitions in modern English,namely either as a political doctrine that all people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social and civil rights, or as a social philosophy advocating the removal of economic inequalities among people, economic egalitarianism, or the decentralization of power. Some sources define egalitarianism as the point of view that equality reflects the natural state of humanity.
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Some specifically focused egalitarian concerns include communism, legal egalitarianism, luck egalitarianism, political egalitarianism, gender egalitarianism, racial equality, equality of outcome and Christian egalitarianism. Common forms of egalitarianism include political and philosophical.
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One argument is that liberalism provides democratic societies with the means to carry out civic reform by providing a framework for developing public policy and providing the correct conditions for individuals to achieve civil rights.
The English Bill of Rights of 1689 and the United States Constitution use only the term person in operative language involving fundamental rights and responsibilities, except for (a) a reference to men in the English Bill of Rights regarding men on trial for treason; and (b) a rule of proportional Congressional representation in the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
As the rest of the Constitution, in its operative language the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution uses the term person, stating that "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws".
An example of this form is the Tunisian Constitution of 2014 which provides that "men and women shall be equal in their rights and duties".
The motto " Liberté, égalité, fraternité " was used during the French Revolution and is still used as an official motto of the French government. The 1789 Rights of Man and of the Citizen French Constitution is framed also with this basis in equal rights of mankind.
The Declaration of Independence of the United States is an example of an assertion of equality of men as "All men are created equal" and the wording of men and man is a reference to both men and women, i.e. mankind. John Locke is sometimes considered the founder of this form.
Many state constitutions in the United States also use rights of man language rather than rights of person since the noun man has always been a reference to and an inclusion of both men and women.[ citation needed ]
Feminism is greatly informed by egalitarian philosophy, being a gender-focused philosophy of equality. However, feminism is distinguished from egalitarianism by also existing as a political and social movement.[ citation needed ]
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At a cultural level, egalitarian theories have developed in sophistication and acceptance during the past two hundred years. Among the notable broadly egalitarian philosophies are socialism, communism, social anarchism, libertarian socialism, left-libertarianism and progressivism, some of which propound economic egalitarianism. However, whether any of these ideas have been significantly implemented in practice remains a controversial question. Anti-egalitarianismor elitism is opposition to egalitarianism.
A very early example of equality of what might be described as outcome economic egalitarianism is the Chinese philosophy of agriculturalism which held that the economic policies of a country need to be based upon an egalitarian self sufficiency.
In socialism, social ownership of means of production is sometimes considered to be a form of economic egalitarianism because in an economy characterized by social ownership the surplus product generated by industry would accrue to the population as a whole as opposed to a class of private owners, thereby granting each individual increased autonomy and greater equality in their relationships with one another. Although the economist Karl Marx is sometimes mistaken to be an egalitarian, Marx eschewed normative theorizing on moral principles altogether. However, Marx did have a theory of the evolution of moral principles in relation to specific economic systems.
The American economist John Roemer has put forth a new perspective of equality and its relationship to socialism. Roemer attempts to reformulate Marxist analysis to accommodate normative principles of distributive justice, shifting the argument for socialism away from purely technical and materialist reasons to one of distributive justice. Roemer argues that according to the principle of distributive justice, the traditional definition of socialism based on the principle that individual compensation be proportional to the value of the labour one expends in production is inadequate. Roemer concludes that egalitarians must reject socialism as it is classically defined in order for equality to be realized.
Many philosophers, including Ingmar Persson,Peter Vallentyne, Nils Holtug, Catia Faria and Lewis Gompertz, have argued that egalitarianism implies that the interests of non-human animals must be taken into account as well. Philosopher Oscar Horta has further argued that "[e]galitarianism implies rejecting speciesism, and in practice it prescribes ceasing to exploit nonhuman animals" and that we should aid animals suffering in nature. Furthermore, Horta argues that "because [nonhuman animals] are worse off in comparison to humans, egalitarianism prescribes giving priority to the interests of nonhuman animals".
The Quran states: "O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted". Muhammad echoed these egalitarian sentiments, sentiments which clashed with the practices of the pre-Islamic cultures. In a review of Louise Marlow's Hierarchy and Egalitarianism in Islamic Thought Ismail Poonawala wrote: "With the establishment of the Arab-Muslim Empire, however, this egalitarian notion, as well as other ideals, such as social justice and social service, that is, alleviating suffering and helping the needy, which constituted an integral part of the Islamic teaching, slowly receded into the background. The explanation given for this change generally reiterates the fact that the main concern of the ruling authorities became the consolidation of their own power and the administration of the slate rather than upholding and implementing those Islamic ideals nurtured by the Qur'an and the Prophet".
Modern egalitarianism is a theory that rejects the classic definition of egalitarianism as a possible achievement economically, politically and socially. Modern egalitarianism theory, or new egalitarianism, outlines that if everyone had the same opportunity cost, then there would be no comparative advances and no one would gain from trading with each other. In essence, the immense gains people receive from trading with each other arise because they are unequal in characteristics and talents—these differences may be innate or developed so that people can gain from trading with each other.
The cultural theory of risk holds egalitarianismas defined by
The theory distinguishes between hierarchists, who are positive towards both rules and groups; and egalitarianists, who are positive towards groups, but negative towards rules.This is by definition a form of anarchist equality as referred to by Alexander Berkman. Thus, the fabric of an egalitarianist society is held together by cooperation and implicit peer pressure rather than by explicit rules and punishment. However, Thompson et al. theorise that any society consisting of only one perspective, be it egalitarianist, hierarchist, individualist, fatalist or autonomist, will be inherently unstable as the claim is that an interplay between all these perspectives are required if each perspective is to be fulfilling. For instance, although an individualist according to cultural theory is aversive towards both principles and groups, individualism is not fulfilling if individual brilliance cannot be recognised by groups, or if individual brilliance cannot be made permanent in the form of principles. Accordingly, egalitarianists have no power except through their presence, unless they (by definition, reluctantly) embrace principles which enable them to cooperate with fatalists and hierarchists. They will also have no individual sense of direction in the absence of a group. This could be mitigated by following individuals outside their group, namely autonomists or individualists.
Berkman suggests that "equality does not mean an equal amount but equal opportunity ... Do not make the mistake of identifying equality in liberty with the forced equality of the convict camp. True anarchist equality implies freedom, not quantity. It does not mean that every one must eat, drink, or wear the same things, do the same work, or live in the same manner. Far from it: the very reverse in fact ... Individual needs and tastes differ, as appetites differ. It is equal opportunity to satisfy them that constitutes true equality ... Far from levelling, such equality opens the door for the greatest possible variety of activity and development. For human character is diverse".
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels believed that an international proletarian revolution would bring about a socialist society which would then eventually give way to a communist stage of social development which would be a classless, stateless, moneyless, humane society erected on common ownership of the means of production and the principle of "From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs". However, Marxism rejected egalitarianism in the sense of greater equality between classes, clearly distinguishing it from the socialist notion of the abolition of classes based on the division between workers and owners of productive property. Marx's view of classlessness was not the subordination of society to a universal interest (such as a universal notion of equality), but it was about the creation of the conditions that would enable individuals to pursue their true interests and desires, making Marx's notion of communist society radically individualistic.
Instead, Marx was a proponent of two principles, with the first ("To each according to his contribution") being applied to socialism and the second ("To each according to their needs") to an advanced communist society. Although Marx's position is often confused or conflated with distributive egalitarianism in which only the goods and services resulting from production are distributed according to a notional equality, in reality Marx eschewed the entire concept of equality as abstract and bourgeois in nature, preferring to focus on more concrete principles such as opposition to exploitation on materialist grounds and economic logic.
Justice, in its broadest context, includes both the attainment of that which is just and the philosophical discussion of that which is just. The concept of justice is based on numerous fields, and many differing viewpoints and perspectives including the concepts of moral correctness based on ethics, rationality, law, religion, equity and fairness. Often, the general discussion of justice is divided into the realm of social justice as found in philosophy, theology and religion, and, procedural justice as found in the study and application of the law.
Political philosophy, also known as political theory, is the study of topics such as politics, liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of laws by authority: what they are, if they are needed, what makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect, what form it should take, what the law is, and what duties citizens owe to a legitimate government, if any, and when it may be legitimately overthrown, if ever.
Social justice is a concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society. This is measured by the explicit and tacit terms for the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity, and social privileges. In Western as well as in older Asian cultures, the concept of social justice has often referred to the process of ensuring that individuals fulfill their societal roles and receive what was their due from society. In the current global grassroots movements for social justice, the emphasis has been on the breaking of barriers for social mobility, the creation of safety nets and economic justice.
John Bordley Rawls was an American moral and political philosopher in the liberal tradition. Rawls received both the Schock Prize for Logic and Philosophy and the National Humanities Medal in 1999, the latter presented by President Bill Clinton, in recognition of how Rawls' work "helped a whole generation of learned Americans revive their faith in democracy itself."
A Theory of Justice is a 1971 work of political philosophy and ethics by John Rawls, in which the author addresses the problem of distributive justice. The theory utilises an updated form of Kantian philosophy and a variant form of conventional social contract theory. Rawls's theory of justice is fully a political theory of justice as opposed to other forms of justice discussed in other disciplines and contexts.
"Justice as Fairness: Political not Metaphysical" is an essay by John Rawls, published in 1985. In it he describes his conception of justice. It comprises two main principles of liberty and equality; the second is subdivided into Fair Equality of Opportunity and the Difference Principle.
Equality of outcome, equality of condition, or equality of results is a political concept which is central to some political ideologies and is used regularly in political discourse, often in contrast to the term equality of opportunity. It describes a state in which people have approximately the same material wealth and income, or in which the general economic conditions of their lives are alike. Achieving equal results generally entails reducing or eliminating material differences between individuals or households in a society and usually involves a transfer of income or wealth from wealthier to poorer individuals, or adopting other measures to promote equality of condition. A related way of defining equality of outcome is to think of it as "equality in the central and valuable things in life". One account in the Journal of Political Philosophy suggested that the term meant "equalising where people end up rather than where or how they begin", but described this sense of the term as "simplistic" since it failed to identify what was supposed to be made equal.
Free-market anarchism, or market anarchism, also known as free-market anti-capitalism and free-market socialism, is the branch of anarchism that advocates a free-market economic system based on voluntary interactions without the involvement of the state. A form of individualist anarchism, left-libertarianism and libertarian socialism, it is based on the economic theories of mutualism and American individualist anarchism. Left-wing market anarchism is a modern branch of free-market anarchism that is based on a revival of such free-market anarchist theories. It is mainly associated with American mutualists and left-libertarians such as Kevin Carson and Gary Chartier, who consider themselves anti-capitalists and identify as part of the socialist movement.
John E. Roemer is an American economist and political scientist. He is currently the Elizabeth S. and A. Varick Stout Professor of Political Science and Economics at Yale University. Prior to joining Yale, he was on the economics faculty at the University of California, Davis, and before entering academia Roemer worked for several years as a labor organizer. He is married to Natasha Roemer, with whom he has two daughters, and lives in New York City.
Luck egalitarianism is a view about distributive justice espoused by a variety of egalitarian and other political philosophers. According to this view, justice demands that variations in how well-off people are should be wholly determined by the responsible choices people make and not to differences in their unchosen circumstances. This expresses the intuition that it is a bad thing for some people to be worse off than others through no fault of their own.
Justice in economics is a subcategory of welfare economics with models frequently representing the ethical-social requirements of a given theory, whether "in the large", as of a just social order, or "in the small", as in the equity of "how institutions distribute specific benefits and burdens". That theory may or may not elicit acceptance. In the Journal of Economic Literature classification codes 'justice' is scrolled to at JEL: D63, wedged on the same line between 'Equity' and 'Inequality' along with 'Other Normative Criteria and Measurement'. Categories above and below the line are Externalities and Altruism.
Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions. Although the term is generally applied to behavior within civil governments, politics is observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic, and religious institutions. Politics consists of "social relations involving authority or power. The definition of "politics" from "The Free Dictionary" is the study of political behavior and examines the acquisition and application of power. Politics study include political philosophy, which seeks a rationale for politics and an ethic of public behavior, and public administration, which examines the practices of governance.
Justice and the market is an ethical perspective based upon the allocation of scarce resources within a society. The allocation of resources depends upon governmental policies and the societal attitudes of the individuals who exist within the society. Personal perspectives are based upon ones circle of moral concern or those who the individual deems worthy of moral consideration.
Liberal socialism is a political philosophy that incorporates liberal principles to socialism. Liberal socialism has been compared to modern social democracy as it supports a mixed economy that includes both private property and social ownership in capital goods. Liberal socialism identifies legalistic and artificial monopolies to be the fault of capitalism and opposes an entirely unregulated market economy. It considers both liberty and equality to be compatible and mutually dependent on each other.
Analytical Marxism is an approach to Marxist theory that was prominent amongst English-speaking philosophers and social scientists during the 1980s. It was mainly associated with the September Group of academics, so called because of their biennial September meetings to discuss common interests. Self-described as "Non-Bullshit Marxism", the group was characterized, in the words of David Miller, by "clear and rigorous thinking about questions that are usually blanketed by ideological fog." Members of this school seek to apply the techniques of analytic philosophy, along with tools of modern social science such as rational choice theory, to the elucidation of the theories of Karl Marx and his successors.
Gerald Allan Cohen, known as G. A. Cohen or Jerry Cohen, was a Canadian political philosopher who held the positions of Quain Professor of Jurisprudence, University College London and Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory, All Souls College, Oxford. He was known for his work on Marxism, and later, egalitarianism and distributive justice in normative political philosophy.
In Marxist theory, the socialist mode of production refers to a specific historical phase of economic development and its corresponding set of social relations that emerge from capitalism in the schema of historical materialism. The Marxist definition of socialism is an economic transition. In this transiton, the sole criterion for production is use-value. Therefore, the law of value no longer directs economic activity. Marxist production for use is coordinated through conscious economic planning. Distribution of products is based on the principle of "to each according to his contribution". The social relations of socialism are characterized by the proletariat effectively controlling the means of production, either through cooperative enterprises or by public ownership or private artisanal tools and self-management. Surplus value, thus, goes to the working class and hence society as a whole.
Marxist philosophy or Marxist theory are works in philosophy that are strongly influenced by Karl Marx's materialist approach to theory, or works written by Marxists. Marxist philosophy may be broadly divided into Western Marxism, which drew out of various sources, and the official philosophy in the Soviet Union, which enforced a rigid reading of Marx called dialectical materialism, in particular during the 1930s. Marxist philosophy is not a strictly defined sub-field of philosophy, because the diverse influence of Marxist theory has extended into fields as varied as aesthetics, ethics, ontology, epistemology, theoretical psychology and philosophy of science, as well as its obvious influence on political philosophy and the philosophy of history. The key characteristics of Marxism in philosophy are its materialism and its commitment to political practice as the end goal of all thought. The theory is also about the hustles of the proletariat and their reprimand of the bourgeoisie.
Ethical socialism is a political philosophy that appeals to socialism on ethical and moral grounds as opposed to economic, egoistic, and consumeristic grounds. It emphasizes the need for a morally conscious economy based upon the principles of altruism, cooperation, and social justice while opposing possessive individualism.
"To each according to his contribution" is a principle of distribution considered to be one of the defining features of socialism. It refers to an arrangement whereby individual compensation is reflective of one's contribution to the social product in terms of effort, labor and productivity. This is held in contrast to the method of distribution and compensation in capitalism, an economic and political system in which property owners receive unearned income by virtue of ownership irrespective of their contribution to the social product.
Marx thinks the idea of equality is actually a vehicle for bourgeois class oppression, and something quite different from the communist goal of the abolition of classes. ... A society that has transcended class antagonisms, therefore, would not be one in which some truly universal interest at last reigns, to which individual interests must be sacrificed. It would instead be a society in which individuals freely act as the truly human individuals they are. Marx's radical communism was, in this way, also radically individualistic.
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