Rethinking Equality in an Age of Inequality
Title: Rethinking Equality in an Age of Inequality
Author: ROSANVALLON, Pierre
Series/Report no.: 2011/08; EUI MWP LS
We live in a time of counter-revolution. Since the 1980s, reversing a century-old trend towards fewer inequalities, the richest among us have kept accumulating revenues and possessions. The economic and social roots of this situation are well-known. But the complete break-down of the very idea of equality has also played a major role, having gone hand in hand with the insidious undermining of the tax system and other redistributive measures. Inequalities that are seen as unacceptable are denounced; but denunciation does not prevent resignation and a feeling of helplessness. To get us out of today’s stalemate, there is nothing more urgent than a refoundation of the idea of equality. This lecture wants to contribute to this refoundation in two ways: first, by retracing two centuries of debates and struggles around the idea of equality, and shedding new light on today’s situation; then by proposing to go beyond dominant theories of justice, from John Rawls’ to Amartya Sen’s, to outline a theory of equality as social relation. Pierre Rosanvallon will show that refounding a society built on principles of singularity, reciprocity, and community, is the necessary condition for a more active solidarity.
Subject: Equality; Inequality; Nationalization; Capitalism; Individualism
Type of Access: openAccess