Elite networks can achieve only limited succe[ss] in opportunity hoarding if new networks, new opportunities, and new hierarchies of prestige and status keep springing up.Individual chances can't ever really be equal, but individuals can be in networks that are roughly equal. This seems to me a good sociological insight.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Rough Equality of Network Chances, Not Equality of Individual Chances
Will Wilkinson of the Cato Institute has an interesting consideration of the liberal principle (cited to Rawls here, but found more generally in liberal thought) that a just society would have equally talented individuals having an equal chance at each position in the social structure. Wilkinson is for general equal opportunity laws and norms. He argues, though, that there is no way that equally talented individuals are likely to be in the same social networks, and networks strongly shape what opportunities come our way. Instead, he argues for a lightly regulated world with many different kinds of opportunities for talent to find a good place for itself: