This essay explores the relation between democracy and social equality. It critically evaluates the relational egalitarian view that democracy is necessary for full social equality and that democracy is an important constituent of social equality. On such a view, inequalities in power an de facto authority are taken, in certain circumstances, to constitute a form of social inequality. On the basis of a series of cases, I argue that such a view is mistaken, and that political inequalities are, at best, empirically and contingently related to social inequality. I argue that what is primarily wrong with inequalities in power and de facto authority is not that, in certain circumstances, they constitute a form of social inequality, but rather that they can be used to extract greater consideration for those with greater power
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