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Power, Luck and FreedomCollected essays$
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Keith Dowding

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781526107282

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526107282.001.0001

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Luck, equality and responsibility

Luck, equality and responsibility

Chapter:
(p.134) 7 Luck, equality and responsibility
Source:
Power, Luck and Freedom
Author(s):

Keith Dowding

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526107282.003.0008

Egalitarians claim that inequality in society is only justified to the extent that it results from choices freely and responsibly made. Inequality resulting from brute bad luck is not justified. I argue that luck, and therefore responsibility, are defined in terms of the reward structure. Luck and responsibility are epiphenomena of the incentives that people have to choose from the opportunity sets available. Egalitarians should therefore look more directly at the degree of inequality that is acceptable and examine more closely the classes of actions they want to leave to individual responsibility even where these will lead to greater inequality. State action should concentrate upon reducing inequality between classes of people; it cannot be expected to reduce all inequalities between people, even though many will have only peripheral relationships to responsibility.

Keywords:   Choice, Equality, Incentives, Luck, Luck egalitarianism, Responsibility

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