Basically, mainstream liberals, like their conservative counterparts, believe in “just deserts,” the idea that everyone receives what they deserve in capitalist markets. That means, if there are fundamentally unequal outcomes (which barely anyone attempts to deny these days), it’s because that’s what people deserve.
But of course some within the mainstream do believe inequality is a problem, if only because it might incite a reaction that calls into question the existing order. And that’s where conservatives and liberal begin to differ: whereas conservatives tend to want to eliminate government intervention (e.g., because it creates a dependency on social welfare programs), liberals look to education as the solution (to the problem of inequality as well as to issues of declining productivity, slow growth, and much else).
What neither conservatives nor liberals want to see is unequal power in the workplace—and that’s a problem more education simply can’t solve.Only government can address asymmetrical power. But even government is somewhat limited in that the problems are cultural and institutional. Asymmetrical power, income and wealth are the result of institutional design and that is a consequence of social structure.
The problem is bourgeois liberalism as an "internal contradiction" of capitalism.
This is a paradox of liberalism arising from privileging capital as a factor over labor (most of the people) and land (the environment). This structure is now deeply embedded in culture and is tacitly accepted by the population at large, who will fight to maintain it even though it is killing them. This is also a paradox of intelligence arising from cognitive-affective-volitional bias at the foundation of a world view that is confused with reality.
Occasional Links & Commentary
Education, inequality, and power
David F. Ruccio | Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame