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What right and left alike fail to see: life is filled with randomness

We are not so powerful as we think in shaping our own or others’ lives. Brute luck is just as important

By Ryan Shorthouse  

Image: Roderick Chen/Zuma Press/PA Images

What explains our lot in life? Here is a great political dividing line, up there with capitalism vs socialism.

Those on the political left emphasise structural forces: the powerful exploit, exclude, discriminate, deprive, preventing those with modest means from flourishing. Those on the right, meanwhile, point to individual agency: our efforts and choices primarily determine our life trajectory, no matter the circumstances or characteristics we were born with.

Hence the furore over Munira Mirza’s involvement in yet another government-commissioned review into racial inequality,…

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