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Making distinctions

In some areas of welfare, the state should withdraw and encourage private provision. In other areas, such as health and education, this would defeat the point-which is equality of opportunity.

Political reaction against the new right is in full swing. The intellectual reaction is much less far advanced. Certainly, academic critiques of philosophical individualism, and of the free market as the model for all social organisation, have gathered strength. They now form the new conventional wisdom. Nearly everybody agrees that we need values and attitudes other than the self-interest that fuels markets, and that these values and attitudes must be embodied in a variety of institutions.

But the positive side of this critique, the alternative to the philosophy of the new right, is still vague. And this means that the…

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