Complex Equality (Walzer)

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    Michael Walzer in his book Spheres of Justice suggests that power and domination can be avoided if a society promotes complex equality. His definition of complex equality states: no social good x should be distributed to men and to women who possess some other good y merely because they possess y and without regard to the meaning of x. Complex equality does not mean that people have the same holdings of any good, so people will not have the same amount of money, status, position, or political power. But their holdings in any one social sphere should not give them advantage regarding their holdings in another social sphere. So, for example, a person holding some political office should not because of that office have greater access to some other social good such as health care. This account of equality in social goods is pluralistic. It has some affinities with Robert A. Dahl's argument that power is pluralist when it is not concentrated into the hands of a single power elite.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Power
    EditorsKeith Dowding
    Place of PublicationThousand Oaks, California
    PublisherSage Publications Inc
    ISBN (Print)9781412927482
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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