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The third way needs a theory of fairness. These days most of us are rather confused about those grand old phrases-“social justice,” “equality of opportunity,” “meritocracy.” New Labour is no exception.

Almost everyone agrees that equality of outcome is out, and equality of opportunity and meritocracy are in. The trouble is that the latter are as unattainable as the former without trampling over many of the values we cherish. Even if inheritance tax is raised and private schools closed, you cannot ban people from handing on the “cultural capital” which is what matters in shaping life chances. And the majority…

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