Democratic Egalitarianism versus Luck Egalitarianism: What Is at Stake?


This paper takes a fresh look at Elizabeth Anderson's democratic egalitarianism and its relation to luck egalitarianism in the light of recent trends toward greater socioeconomic inequality. Anderson's critique of luck egalitarianism and her alternative ideal of democratic equality are set out. It is then argued that the former is not very powerful, and that the latter is vulnerable to many of Anderson's criticisms of luck egalitarianism. The paper also seeks to show that, on many of the issues over which Anderson disagrees with luck egalitarians, the latter can adopt the view she canvasses without abandoning their luck egalitarianism. At most, her critique shows that we have reason to prefer some views within the luck egalitarian family over others—not that we have reason to reject luck egalitarianism as such.