My conception of socioeconomic rights does not realize strict equality either procedurally or subtantively. Procedurally, not all people are treated equally because the necessity to earn benefits by labor-market participation is set aside for people who are physically unable to work or whom society would not have work. Further, people who do not contribute in acceptable ways fail to earn these rights. This deviation from strict equality is a practical political necessity required to bridge the worlds of inquiry and power. One consequence of this insistence on earning rights through active participation is that some people will slip through the safety net or socioeconomic floor that social programs would provide, either because they are unwilling to cooperate, or fail to understand how to cooperate, or perhaps never hear of the opportunity.
Substantively, the most obvious deviation from the criterion of strict equality lies in the restriction of these socioeconomic rights to basic material resources. My proposals for social programs make no effort to achieve substantive equality by redistributing resources from rich to poor. While the social merging proposals in-
volve greater vertical redistribution, the focus of these rights is restricted to basic material goods, which means that the limits of this redistribution are reached rather quickly. The experience of other advanced industrial societies that have extensive social programs is that horizontal, or life-cycle, redistribution predominates over vertical.