Recasting Egalitarianism: New Rules for Accountability and Equity in Markets, States and Communities by Sam Bowles and Herbert Gintis, Verso 1999
With contributions from Daniel M. Hausman, John E. Roemer, Erik Olin Wright, Karl Ove Moene, Michael Wallerstein, Peter Skott David M. Gordon, Harry Brighouse, Elaine McCrate, Andrew Levine, Paula England, Steven N. Durlauf, Ugo Pagano, Michael R. Carter, and Karla Hoff. Edited and Introduced by Erik Olin Wright.
Two prominent economists lead a debate to redistribute wealth. In Recasting Egalitarianism, part of Verso’s Real Utopias series, economists Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis diagnose the current malaise of the Left as a result of the obsolescence of its traditional economic models. They propose to rejuvenate the egalitarian project through a strategy of asset-based redistribution, drawing in novel ways on markets, competition, state regulation and community governance. In this major work on economic and social policy, the authors address the twin challenges posed by a globally integrated economy and the key economic roles now played by information, motivation, and other intangibles. They propose an egalitarian redistribution of assets – land, capital, and housing – and argue for the beneficial disciplining effects of competition both in markets and among publicly-funded service providers, pointing out that the injustices commonly associated with markets can be avoided if assets are more equally distributed. The lead essay in the book lays out the underlying logic of this proposal in some detail. This is followed by responses by critics and supporters.