By Pierre Rosanvallon

Arthur Goldhammer (tr.)

Since the Eighties, society's wealthiest contributors have claimed an ever-expanding percentage of source of revenue and estate. it's been a real counterrevolution, says Pierre Rosanvallon--the finish of the age of transforming into equality introduced by way of the yank and French revolutions. And simply as major because the social and monetary components using this modern inequality has been a lack of religion within the perfect of equality itself. An bold transatlantic historical past of the struggles that, for 2 centuries, placed political and fiscal equality at their middle, The Society of Equals demands a brand new philosophy of social kin to reenergize egalitarian politics.

For eighteenth-century revolutionaries, equality intended knowing people as essentially alike after which growing common political and fiscal rights. Rosanvallon sees the roots of today's obstacle within the interval 1830-1900, while industrialized capitalism threatened to quash those aspirations. by way of the early 20th century, revolutionary forces had started to rectify a few imbalances of the Gilded Age, and the trendy welfare nation steadily emerged from Depression-era reforms. yet new monetary shocks within the Nineteen Seventies started a slide towards inequality that has merely received momentum within the many years since.

There isn't any returning to the times of the redistributive welfare kingdom, Rosanvallon says. instead of lodge to outmoded notions of social unity, we needs to as a substitute revitalize the assumption of equality in accordance with rules of singularity, reciprocity, and communality that extra thoroughly replicate today's realities.

Editorial Reviews
From Bookforum
French political theorist Pierre Rosanvallon takes clean inventory of the belief of equality within the Society of Equals, an formidable bid to restore egalitarian notion in a world economic system that now not acknowledges any ethical or political legitimacy in schemes to redistribute wealth. Rosanvallon deftly lines the sluggish cave in of the egalitarian culture, commonly within the counterposed trajectories of French and American political suggestion. regrettably, notwithstanding, The Society of Equals isn’t approximately as robust in sketching a imaginative and prescient of social inequality untethered from the damaging dogmas of blood and soil. —Chris Lehmann
Review
The most sensible to be had remedy of equality as a of the typical existence. (Michael Ignatieff)

In a wealthy and illuminating paintings of political thought and old interpretation, Pierre Rosanvallon strains the increase and fall of the perfect of equality, from the yank and French Revolutions to the current. And he argues for reviving equality as an ethical and political undertaking. The 'society of equals' he favors is much less approximately redistribution than approximately convalescing commonality because the foundation of social kinfolk. At a time while the welfare kingdom has misplaced its means to encourage, Rosanvallon, one in every of Europe's such a lot distinct political theorists, bargains a fashion of recasting the case for a extra equivalent society. (Michael J. Sandel, writer of What funds Can't purchase: the ethical Limits of Markets)

French political theorist Pierre Rosanvallon takes clean inventory of the suitable of equality within the Society of Equals, an bold bid to restore egalitarian suggestion in an international financial system that now not acknowledges any ethical or political legitimacy in schemes to redistribute wealth--let by myself in additional modest efforts to extend entry to easy social items akin to future health care, housing, or education...Rosanvallon deftly lines the gradual cave in of the egalitarian culture, quite often within the counterposed trajectories of French and American political thought.
(Chris Lehmann Bookforum 2013-09-01)

The proposal of equality usually conjures up heated passions...Pierre Rosanvallon, one among France's major public intellectuals, has stepped into this minefield to supply a considerate work.
(Daniel Bel-Ami monetary occasions 2013-09-20)

During the yankee and French revolutions, striving for liberty and attaining equality weren't obvious as contradictory. smooth notions of individualism and person selection have undermined that bond: we pay basically lip carrier to equality whereas our physique politic hasn't ever been much less susceptible to right unequal distribution of source of revenue and wealth. Rosanvallon warns us what's at stake the following: sleek democracy won't live to tell the tale if it avoids the query of equality. (Andreas Hess occasions larger schooling 2014-01-09)

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In Olbie there was neither excessive opulence nor extreme indigence. ”47 Thus the market would be regulated by morality and social pressure. Neither Malthusian pessimism nor the demons of large-scale industry had yet to darken this picture of the world. The Republic of Modest Individuals Optimistic liberalism and the idea of market equality lent intellectual credibility to the project of creating a society of independent individuals. Existing social structures were also important, however, especially in America.

By seeking to uniformize (the French word used at the time was “uniformer”) words and things, the state sought to transform the nature of the social bond. It set itself the goal of establishing a new type of equivalence in relations between individuals. It explicitly attempted to fashion a nation of equals by liquidating apparent diversities wherever they occurred. In order to instill a sense of equality as belonging, it therefore attempted to influence everything that affected the social bond: the orga nization of space, the language, weights and mea sures, and even memory itself.

In the United States, equality as homogeneity had a basis that was essentially moral and cultural. The French took a much more voluntaristic and institutional view: the state sought to contribute to the construction of an egalitarian republic through policies of uniformization. In the French case, therefore, it is more correct to speak of equality as abstraction. Beyond the commonality of participation created by active citizenship, the state thus initiated a commonality of ascription to a shared norm or form.

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