Reviewed by Sweta | Updated on Nov 11, 2021



Egalitarianism is a principle of treating all persons as equal without any differences due to gender, economic status and other factors. It refers to a school of thought in a philosophical manner emphasising on equality of income and distribution of resources. The fundamental principle being equality of opportunity and equality of rights.

Understanding Egalitarianism

From a social and economic perspective, egalitarianism promotes economic upliftment amongst various classes of society. The egalitarian philosophy is based on ensuring equality of income and equality of opportunity among the various sections of the society.

The material egalitarianism or economic egalitarianism is based on the principle that every person in the society should have access to resources and equal opportunity to create wealth.

The principles of economic egalitarianism also constitute the base for the Marxist school of thought and socialism. The underlying principles being collective or common ownership of resources without private ownership.

Another branch which is legal egalitarianism states that everyone is governed by the same set of laws. The concept is unlike differential treatment or immunity provided to ministers or foreign diplomats. The concept focuses on the uniformity of law and is against giving any special protection to any section of persons.

In a free-market economy, economic egalitarianism relies on the principle of promoting private enterprise ownership. Private individuals and enterprises have the opportunity to create wealth by making investments through private entrepreneurship and employment. Thus, individuals and enterprises have an opportunity to earn money and create wealth.

A free market promotes private financing and investments represented by capital. An entrepreneur invests the capital in a business, offering goods and services to society. Similarly, different entrepreneurs start a business, offering competing or different products. The society benefits from competition and variety of goods offered.


Egalitarianism has an effect on immigration and economic development. A country which restricts immigration or has policies to protect its domestic trade and commerce will lack in economic development. The positive benefits of globalisation and the sharing of resources through international trade will not be available to such a country.

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