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Special Project

Opportunity after Neoliberalism

The notion of equal opportunity has long played a central role in U.S. politics and policymaking. Across the ideological spectrum, it is often held up as an economic ideal—a way of arranging access to education, work, and wealth—as well as an egalitarian one, giving meaning to the notion that all citizens are equal. At the same time, in a neoliberal age that emphasizes personal responsibility and individual merit, the meaning and value of opportunity have become increasingly contested, and a new wave of egalitarian thinking has emphasized the importance of outcomes and public goods. This project explores these debates about what an opportunity society should look like, bringing together economists, philosophers, historians, and policymakers to imagine a just society—and the way to get there. 

Generously supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Rose Casey, Jessica Wilkerson, Johanna Winant

The crisis here spells disaster for the future of public education.

Shobita Parthasarathy

Not as it’s traditionally done, but there are more equitable models.

Christine Sypnowich

Being serious about equality means aiming to ensure we all live equally flourishing lives—not merely that we have the chance to do so.

Jo Guldi

Redistributing land was once central to global development efforts—and it should be today.

Timothy Weaver

Tax breaks for investors don’t help poor communities.

Alex Raskolnikov

For years the left has rallied around taxing the 1 percent, but this group is too narrow.

James Chappel

The tone of exhausted pragmatism—even among friends of the program—is counterproductive. It is beyond time to fight fire with fire.

Ira Katznelson

Revisiting When Affirmative Action Was White, nearly two decades on.

Kevin P. Donovan

Two new books critique poverty capital, but they don’t ask what borrowers need. 

Christopher Newfield

Institutional reform is no match for pervasive structural inequality.

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