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Aeschimann, Eric

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Libération - France | 29/11/2007

Patrick Savidan highlights contradictions in equal opportunities

Interviewed by Eric Aeschimann, the French philosopher Patrick Savidan, director of the Observatoire des Inégalités, explores the notion of equal opportunity, which "functions according to merit. Under the Ancien Régime, honours and riches were attributed according to birth right. All of modernity's struggle has imposed merit as a criterion for distribution. Equal opportunity means allowing each individual access to a position in society that corresponds with his or her talent and effort. ... However, in order to be credible, equal opportunity requires a tax-funded system of redistribution that corrects inequality at birth. This is a saw point. As soon as individuals believe that they owe their merit to nobody but themselves, and believe themselves to be the exclusive owners of their riches, they will prove reticent facing a tax which they will consider takes riches away from deserving individuals -themselves- in order to give them to the undeserving."

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