In pursuit of egalitarianism and why social mobility cannot get us there

Document type
Rebecca Hickman
Date of publication
26 August 2009
Social Policy
Social welfare
Material type

Download (477KB )

This report examines the differences between policies promoting social mobility and egalitarianism and argues that they produce starkly different kinds of society.  While both have been promoted under the umbrella of fairness, the author finds the concept of social mobility to be incoherent and limiting when used as a public policy goal. Meritocracy, the foundation of social mobility policies, fails to provide the right moral template for our social and economic relationships.  The failures of social mobility strategies are evident in the rising levels of inequality in Britain. Rather than a narrow focus on equality of opportunity, the author proposes a focus on equality of outcomes and equality of freedom. 

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