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Definition: Egalitarianism

Egalitarianism also called as equalitarianism or equalism favors the equality for all the people. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Egalitarian believes that all the humans are equal in social status or fundamental worth. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, it has two different definitions. First is defined as a political doctrine which means that all the people must be treated equally. They have same economic, political, civil & social rights, while the second definition is a social philosophy which advocates the remotion of economic inequalities among the people, economic egalitarianism or the power decentralization. Some define it as equality reflects the stable state of humanity. There are different forms of egalitarianism inclusive of economic, legal, luck, political, gender, racial, asset-based, Christian & philosophical egalitarianism.

Egalitarianism in economics means equality of opportunity. The government must not discriminate against their citizens or it shouldn’t hinder the opportunities for their citizens to prosper. It is a state of economic affairs where government promotes an equal prosperity for all of its citizens. Milton Friedman, a free market economist, supported the equality of opportunity, while John Keynes supported more of equal outcomes.

Example: An example of Milton theory is Xu Xing. He was a scholar of Chinese philosophy of the Agriculturalism. He supported the price fixing. It means that disregarding the differences in demand & quality, all the similar goods and services are set at exactly same price.

Sometimes, Social ownership can be considered as a type of economic egalitarianism because the surplus products will accrue to whole the population as opposed to the private owners. So, it grants an increased autonomy to individuals and more equality in their relationships with each other. Some people consider the economist Karl Marx to be an egalitarian which is a mistake. He eschewed normative theory on moral principles. But he had an evolution theory about moral principles in relation to a specific economic system.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels did not accept egalitarianism for more equality between different classes. They clearly distinguished egalitarianism from the socialist notion of the abolishment of different classes which was based on a division between workers & owners. Marx's view of classlessness was not a subordination of the society to a universal notion of equality. It was rather about the creation of such conditions which would help individuals to pursue their true interests. It means that his notion of communist society is individualistic.

John Roemer, an American economist, has put a new perspective to equality and its relationship with socialism. He attempts to reformulate the analysis of Marx to accommodate the normative principles of distributive justice by shifting an argument for the socialism away from purely materialist & technical reasons to one of the distributive justice. John argues that, by the principle of distributive justice, traditional definition of socialism is based on the principle that an individual compensation has to be proportional to the value of the labor one expands in production is inadequate. He concludes that since socialism is classically defined, it must be rejected by egalitarians.


Hence, this concludes the definition of Egalitarianism along with its overview.


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