chapter  2
27 Pages

Equality and fraternity

Inequality and poverty are not the same thing. It is a mistake to equate them or to assume that the one is a necessary correlate of the other. Even though in all known societies inequality is actually associated with widespread poverty this need not be the case. It is possible to imagine a society in which there were wide disparities of reward but little or no genuine deprivation. Of course all hierarchies may generate a sense of relative deprivation-a desire on the part of the less privileged to match the rewards granted to those better placed. This fact is consistent, however, with the ‘least advantaged’ class enjoying a high standard of material comfort.