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Equality and Democracy: A New Press Back-to-Basics Book

Overview

What is the role of equality in today's America? What are the arguments to be made for it, now that it is under increasing attack? Philip Green, whose scholarly books on equality and inequality have become basic texts of political analysis, here reexamines this most basic assumption of our democracy to get at the fundamental questions underlying current debate.

Tackling the seeming conflict between a belief in equality and a meritocracy, Green demonstrates how an emphasis on ...

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Overview

What is the role of equality in today's America? What are the arguments to be made for it, now that it is under increasing attack? Philip Green, whose scholarly books on equality and inequality have become basic texts of political analysis, here reexamines this most basic assumption of our democracy to get at the fundamental questions underlying current debate.

Tackling the seeming conflict between a belief in equality and a meritocracy, Green demonstrates how an emphasis on merit ultimately promotes equality rather than inequality, and shows that it is both possible and economically sound for our society to move in the direction of increased equality. Further, he shows how a true belief in equal opportunity will change the way in which we think about political representation, welfare, child care, affirmative action, and the obligations of the citizens of affluent societies to the rest of the world.

On Equality takes on these crucial questions with great clarity. Without recourse to jargon, Green analyzes complex political debates around equality, explaining the range of arguments, and evaluating their potential for bringing equality back to a central place in America's future.

On Equality is both an original work of political theory and a compelling analysis of the direction political action ought to take in the twenty-first century.

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Editorial Reviews

The Progressive
This is a provocative, challenging work, combining some of the insights of Rousseau, Marx, and Rawls... The arguments are elegant, the writing style is accessible, and the moral force is overwhelming.
Booknews
Green (government, Smith College) offers a defense of equality in an America of increasing inequality. He argues that a belief in equal opportunity will change our perceptions about political representation, welfare, childcare, and affirmative action, and makes a persuasive case for the importance of equality and how it may continue to have a central place in America's future. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565843905
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 2/1/1999
  • Series: Back-to-Basics Series
  • Pages: 238
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
Setting the Stage 1
Defining Equality 3
2 Competing Principles 15
Justifiable Inequalities 15
The Question of Merit 31
3 Equal Opportunity 41
What is "Equal Opportunity"? 41
Equal Opportunity and Democracy 52
4 Achieving Equality 63
Surplus Inequality 63
Surplus Inequality and Redistribution 70
Work 76
5 The Costs of Equality 89
The Big Trade-off? 89
The Question of Incentives 104
"Some mute inglorious Milton may here rest ..." 112
6 The Problems of Compensation 117
The Paradox 117
Neutral Justice and Equal Opportunity 134
Affirmative Action and Higher Education 142
7 Why not Equality? 159
The Retreat from Equality 159
Competing Solidarities 171
8 Conclusion: Egalitarian Solidarity 185
Notes 207
Index 231
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