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Contemporary social evils$
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Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781847424099

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847424099.001.0001

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The poor and the unequal

The poor and the unequal

Chapter:
(p.203) 17 The poor and the unequal
Source:
Contemporary social evils
Author(s):

Jeremy Seabrook

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781847424099.003.0017

This chapter highlights the need for new models that will allow people to contribute to a fairer, more just and ultimately freer society. It also dismisses the political pursuit of ‘equality of opportunity’ as a ‘shallow and meretricious’ approach to social, educational and cultural disadvantage. It equates it with support for a ‘meritocracy’ that conveniently ignores the concentration of supposed ‘merit’ among those already favoured by birth or wealth. The poor are disempowered in a democracy where most people are well to do. The pattern of economic growth that prevails now in almost every country on earth leads to growing inequality. Inequality has historically always seemed more abstract than poverty. Finally, the chapter deals with wealth as the problem.

Keywords:   meritocracy, poor, democracy, economic growth, inequality, wealth, poverty

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