DEFINITION of 'Egalitarianism'

A philosophical thought system that emphasizes equality and equal treatment across gender, religion, economic status and political beliefs. One of the major tenets of egalitarianism is that all people are fundamentally equal. Egalitarianism can be examined from a social perspective that looks at ways to reduce economic inequalities or from a political perspective that looks at ways to ensure the equal treatment and rights of diverse groups of people.

BREAKING DOWN 'Egalitarianism'

Egalitarianism may focus on income inequality and distribution and, as a philosophy, has influenced the development of various economic and political systems. Karl Marx looked to egalitarianism as a starting point in the creation of his Marxist philosophy, and John Locke considered egalitarianism when he proposed that individuals had natural rights.

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