The political freedom becomes meaningless if there is no economic equality. Rather, all, civil and political freedoms in a society consisting of ‘haves’ and ‘have-notes,’ tend to allow ruthless exploitation of the dispossessed.
All these freedoms are then exercised by the rich in their own interests and they get a sort of freedom or license to exploit the ‘have-not’ with impunity. Freedom can be utilized by all only if there is race among the equals.
We find in practice, that so-called democracy with an impressive list of Fundamental Rights, is heading towards concentration of all wealth in the hands of a few capitalists.
Economic equality is thus the firsthand the foremost condition for the enjoyment of all other rights. By adopting economic equality, we avoid the ugly spectacle of an economic system in which the luxury of the few is paralleled by the misery of the many.
We may agree with Mathew Arnold that, “Our economic inequality materializes our upper class, vulgarizes our middle class and brutalizes our lower class.”
Points to Remember
Some opine that equality is not possible to attain in a free society. Lord Acton held a similar view. Modern view of equality docs not imply that all should be drilled to a dead level of uniformity. Equality as a political concept implies the equalization of opportunities.
According to Prof. Laski, it is an attempt to give each man as similar a chance as possible to utilize what powers he my possess. Equality has social, political, legal and economic aspect.
Social equality implies the removal of all sorts of caste or class distinctions. Political equality means that all should have equal political rights and privileges.
Legal equality envisages the equality of all before the law. Economic equality aims at leveling of incomes and removal of gross inequalities of wealth.