How to Make Opportunity Equal: Race and Contributive Justice

· John Wiley & Sons

About this ebook


“Paul Gomberg makes a powerful and provocative case that real equality of opportunity can only be achieved by overturning the social division of labor that unfairly handicaps not just black but the working class in general.”
Charles W. Mills, University of Illinois at Chicago

“An important and original contribution to contemporary debates about justice in political philosophy; and accessible introduction to those debates for students and the lay reader; and a powerful and important challenge to policymakers, educators and employers, to think hard about their responsibilities for enabling people to lead flourishing lives.”
Harry Brighouse, University of Wisconsin-Madison

“In this impressive book, Paul Gomberg argues ardently, with great optimism, and with philosophical and sociological sophistication, for a radical new theory of egalitarian justice.”
David Copp, University of Florida

Distributive injustices such as low pay, inferior healthcare and housing, as well as diminished opportunities in school continue to blight the lives of millions of the urban poor in America and beyond.

This book announces a new theory of justice. Paul Gomberg:

  • focuses on how race and class structure unequal life prospects
  • shows how human society can be organized in a way that does not socialize children for lives of routine labor
  • maintains that true equality of opportunity comes only when all labor, both routine and complex, is shared
  • proposes a new paradigm for the theory of justice. While Rawls, Sen, Nozick, and Walzer conceive justice as addressing how various goods are fairly obtained or distributed, Gomberg argues that justice in distribution must advance contributive opportunities and duties.

On Gomberg’s contributive theory of justice, each person contributes to society not for individual material gain, but from a sense of what is required in order to build just relations with others.

Passionate and radical, but rigorously argued, this book makes a vital and original contribution to philosophy and social thought.

About the author

Paul Gomberg is Professor of Philosophy at Chicago State University. He has published widely in political philosophy, the history of philosophy, and on race in journals such as Ethics, American Philosophical Quarterly, and The Journal of Social Philosophy. His writing reflects his experience as an anti-racist activist and teacher.

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