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On Dwokin's Equality

Posted on:2009-04-26Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:J Y WangFull Text:PDF
GTID:2166360245495001Subject:Constitution and Administrative Law
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This paper discusses Dworkin's theory of equality, which is mainly made up of resources equality and political equality. Dworkin's thoughts on the right to equality were generated in the 1960s and 1970s in a specific social background in the United States where extreme economic disparity between the rich and the poor existed. On the political front, movements demanding equality and rights sprang up. In the ideological field, the traditional positivism, liberalism had been challenged austerely. After a profound reflection of various social phenomena Dworkin advanced the unique thoughts on the right to equality.Relying on the principle of equal importance and special responsibility, Dworkin constructs an ideal equal distribution model, which is made up of island auctions and virtual insurance market. In the initial environment such as a desert island, the resources are distributed by market auction mechanism and when the distribution meets the "envy test" the equal distribution is achieved. But this status is temporary and it is broken soon for the development of people's productions and transactions. The unequal distribution of wealth emerges again in society. How to eliminate such inequalities? Dworkin uses another market mechanism - insurance to redistribute the social wealth.Resources equality is conditional and a free and open system is prerequisite. Between freedom and equality Dworkin tries to reconcile them and make two virtues live in harmony. But if we must ask which is more valuable between equality and freedom Dworkin advocates that equality is prior to freedom.Complete equality theory requires not only the equal distribution in economic sectors but also the equality in the political field. In a democratic constitutional state there are two concepts to fulfill the citizens' political equality, which are detached conception of democracy and dependent conception of democracy. The detached conception of democracy insists that citizens have equality in politics as long as the political power is distributed in an equal way no matter what results it promises to produce. But according to dependent conception of democracy, whether people are equal in politics should be judged by their political equality in reality. Dworkin advocates the second concept.Dworkin's thoughts on the right to equality came into being against specific backgrounds. His theory is specifically targeted and has a strong purpose. It is only a temporary conciliation of the American contemporary societal contradictions. But his concern about the vulnerable groups and the spirit of reality reflected in his theory not only promotes the American legal theory but also is significantly referential to the construction of socialist legal system in China.
Keywords/Search Tags:Dworkin, equal in resources, political equality, freedom
PDF Full Text Request
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