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"Being Equals: Analyzing the Nature of Social Egalitarian Relationships"

by Schuppert, Fabian (2015)

Abstract

[From publisher] This chapter explores what kind of social relationships are compatible with the ideal of social equality. Building on the work of Samuel Scheffler and Martin O’Neill, it first provides a brief analysis of the ideal of social equality and its normative core. It then looks at three paradigmatic examples, namely, workplace relationships, rich–poor relationships, and gender relationships in order to flesh out the nature of social egalitarian relationships. The chapter analyzes what kind of inequalities in power, wealth and esteem (if any) are compatible with social equality. Moreover, it looks at structural inequalities and how social egalitarians should assess them. Overall, the chapter offers an in-depth analysis of social equality and the nature of social egalitarian relationships.

Key Passage

"The relationship between workers and managers is in many cases ultimately an issue of decision-making power and authority. In many workplaces management enjoys a wide range of decision-making powers with regard to the workers. This decision-making power includes the determination of a worker’s actual work activity (e.g., whether a worker carries out task A or task B, with A and B possibly varying quite significantly in complexity, demandingness and fulfillingness), the change of fundamental working conditions (e.g., hours of employment, access to and quality of tools and equipment, location and actual workplace, etc.) as well as the prescription of strategic goals (e.g., increase in production by 10%, change of product, etc.). More often than not, these powers are not subject to democratic constraints or other forms of legitimating procedures." pp. 113-114 ()

Keywords

Domination, Egalitarianism, Esteem, Inequality, Social Relationships, Samuel Scheffler, Social Equality, Workplace Democracy

Themes

Social Centrality of Work, Workplace Democracy, Equality and Work

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