Following this line of reasoning further (and it certainly hasappeared to many that we have no principled reason to stop here) seemsto lead to more radical conclusions than those who agreed with formalequality of opportunity would have imagined. A society with a moresubstantial equality of opportunity principle in place will still notbe providing equality of opportunity for all. People are born intomore or less nurturing families and social circumstances. People areborn into families and neighborhoods which are more or lessencouraging of education and the development of economicallyadvantageous talents. There are a whole range of social influenceswhich have fundamental and unequal effects on children’seconomic prospects and for which they are in no way responsible—the influences children are exposed to are a matter of theirluck in the ‘social lottery’. Moreover, the luck of thenatural lottery is not just restricted to such characteristics asgender and race. Children are more or less fortunate in thedistribution of natural talents as well.


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