Luck egalitarianism originated in an attempt to respond to the conservative objection that egalitarianism fails to respect the value of responsibility. In response, luck egalitarians have introduced a distinction between choice and circumstances and recommend redistribution only when inequalities are not the result of choice. I will argue, however, that this standard formulation of the luck egalitarian aim is problematic, and ought to be revised. Valuing responsibility requires more than redistribution – it requires giving priority to ensuring equality of opportunity for advantages at the level of institutions. Preventing unfairness has normative priority over efforts to alleviate it. Compensation’s role is secondary to the prior normative importance of ensuring that people are responsible for the advantages they have.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy on 16 Nov 2015, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13698230.2015.1101824.