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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

Christopher Newfield

Institutional reform is no match for pervasive structural inequality.

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