Positional Goods and Social Equality: Examining the Convergence Thesis

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Several philosophers argue for the ‘convergence thesis’ for positional goods: prioritarians, sufficientarians, and egalitarians may converge on favouring an equal (or not too unequal) distribution of goods that have positional aspects. I discuss some problems for this thesis when applied to two key goods for which it has been proposed: education and wealth. I show, however, that there is a variant of the thesis that avoids these problems. This version of the thesis is significant, I demonstrate, because it applies to a person’s status as a citizen, which I suggest is the central concern of social or ‘relational’ egalitarianism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-520
Number of pages20
JournalRes Publica
Issue number3
Early online date3 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023


  • Levelling down
  • Positional goods
  • Priority
  • Relational equality
  • Social equality
  • Sufficiency


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