Reassessing Luck Egalitarianism

N.J. Barry

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28 Citations (Scopus)
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In this paper, I analyze two major problems with brute luck egalitarianism. The first problem is that some instances of option luck inequality are inconsistent with the underlying motivation of the luck egalitarian project, and the second problem is that brute luck egalitarianism, at least on Dworkin's formulation, is insufficiently sensitive to the way background inequalities shape individual choices. Whilst G.A Cohen's more nuanced version of brute luck egalitarianism overcomes the second problem by focusing on the genuineness of choices, it does not avoid the first problem of noncompensable option luck. I outline a revised theory of luck egalitarianism that overcomes both problems by focusing on the extent to which individuals have genuinely chosen the level of well-being they enjoy, rejecting the distinction between noncompensable option luck and compensable brute luck. I conclude by outlining the radical redistributive implications of this theory, which run counter to the direction of recent left-liberal policy “modernization.”
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-150
JournalThe Journal of Politics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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