Michael Thompson seeks to rejuvenate the idea and discourse of economic
inequality in American political thought. The egalitarian tradition has been a vital
part of American political development, he claims, and has defined economic
inequality as an assault on the substantive realisation of freedom and dignity (p.
7). His accessible book investigates the construction of legitimacy as it relates to
the idea of economic inequality, and documents the ‘transformation from radical
criticism to relatively passive acceptance’ of inequality in political and social
discourse (pp. 15-16).
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