Egalitarianism and Perceptions of Inequality


Drawing on social psychological evidence showing that the perspective from which the economically advantaged and disadvantaged view economic inequalities matters a great deal for how they are appraised, for when they are considered unfair, and for what evidentiary standards individuals rely upon to reach their conclusions, we argue that choice egalitarianism is unsuitable for articulating the demands of justice when people not only disagree about the causes of inequality but also have motivated reasons to adopt different standards for appraising its fairness. Because choice egalitarianism requires us to take a stand on the causes of inequality it is an unsuitable ideal. This is a serious shortcoming when we are interested in getting people to assume collective responsibility for doing something about inequality in the real world.