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Equality and the British LeftA Study in Progressive Political Thought, 1900-64$
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Ben Jackson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780719073069

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719073069.001.0001

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Means and ends

Means and ends

(p.151) 6 Means and ends
Equality and the British Left

Ben Jackson

Manchester University Press

An important feature of the ensuing debate about the nature of socialism was a renewed engagement with the ideal of equality. This chapter begins by examining the well-known debate in this period about the status of public ownership within socialist thought. It argues that this was primarily a debate about the mechanism that could best realise an egalitarian society rather than a disagreement over the meaning of ‘equality’ itself; there was in fact only minimal disagreement within the Left in this period about the meaning of such distributive principles. In contrast to some widespread perceptions of revisionist ideology, the chapter concludes that they were committed to an egalitarian, non-meritocratic view of justice.

Keywords:   socialism, equality, public ownership, egalitarian society, distributive principles

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