The Literature On Equality Dated Back Long Ago

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The literature on equality dated back long ago and was more of a statistical issue prior to Rawls’ philosophical contribution. The Rawlsian philosophy was based on providing justice beyond maximizing the civil liberties. His idea – ‘difference principle’ -was to make people equal by having a set of institutions that allocate the worst off individuals the maximum level of ‘primary goods’. He viewed, in this regard, primary goods as the goods necessary for the success of any life plan and hence ensuring an equal primary good bundles is a way of making a person responsible for his life plan choice. The other philosophers like Jensen (1969) and Herrenstein (1971) deduced in their papers that the existence of inequality is due to differential intelligence of the individuals and hence rendering the society an equal income distribution is merely an imagination. Their views were contradicted by the other thinkers like Bowles (1973) and Colinsk (1974) who thought of the inequality as an outcome of unequal opportunity. However, it was Dworkin (1981), Arneson (1989) or Cohen (1989) who introduced the personal responsibility into the literature on equality. Dworkin (1981 a,b) argued about how lack of internal resources can be overcome by external wealth distribution and introduced responsibility into achieving the equality in the society. Unlike Rawls, Dworkin emphasized on preferences instead of primary goods and showed that preferences of individuals matter into the welfare
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