To what extent is there tension between liberalism and the principle of equality?

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  • Created by: Sophie
  • Created on: 13-04-16 09:58
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  • To what extent is there tension between Liberalism and the principle of equality?
    • No Tension
      • Foundational Equality
        • People born equal, of = moral worth
        • Notion of 'natural rights' which should be protected by the state and form part of Locke's social contract theory
          • Jefferson 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' and 'all men are created equal'
          • Locke 'life, liberty and property'
        • 'Difference blind'
          • Gender, race, religion, creed, social background means anyone should be treated the same
      • Formal Equality
        • Indv should enjoy equal rights and entitlements
        • Same legal status, 'equality before the law', and one person, one vote, one value
        • Mill argued for suffrage of women
      • Equality of Opportunity
        • Level playing field
        • With equal chance some will rise, some will fall, Spencer 'survival of the fittest' Darwinian concept
    • One of key tenets of liberalism
    • Tension
      • Socialists say it is inegalitarian
        • Principle of equality of op legitmises social inequalities
        • Economic and legal equality is inconsequential if indv have diff social circumstance
      • Economy
        • Classical liberals
          • Free market economy guarantees equality
          • Inequalities act as an economic incentive
          • Smith 'Invisible hand'
          • Inequality is natural and in a free society, all social outcomes are just
          • Social equality undesirable bc people born with different talents, and wilingness to work
        • Modern liberals
          • Want to narrow social inequalities
          • Intervention with the welfare state
          • Social inequality only acceptable if works in interests of the least well off
          • Linking eq of op to greater amount of eq of outcome
          • Beveridge Report 1942 five evils 'want, squalor, disease, ignorance and idleness'
            • Availability of healthcare, education, and social stability would expand opportunity for all, no matter their birth circumstances
      • Legal equality
        • Mill did not want to give the working class suffrage because they will vote for 'lower pleasures'


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