ABSTRACT

Because this chapter refers to Philip J. Rutledge and to his leadership in social equity in public administration, it is at once specific to equity in public policy and administration and nested in the wider world of nonpublic administration social equity. The chapter serves to illustrate how social equity is influenced by changing attitudes toward fairness and particularly toward governmental programs designed to equalize or make fairer. It captures the interplay between attitudes toward individual talent, merit, and achievement on one hand and problems of individual opportunity on the other while it specifically takes up the claim that measures of merit simply mask inherited advantage. And the chapter makes the additional claim that, over the long run, merit will always trump attempts to equalize opportunities.