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However, this scope restriction is open to challenge.
Its domains are political societies or nation-states taken one at a time.
If all Austrian universities are open to all Austrian youth and all Chinese universities are open to all Chinese youth, it is not ordinarily thought to be objectionable if Austrian universities are not open to Chinese and Chinese universities are not open to the Austrians.
Thus limited in scope, formal equality of opportunity would be compatible with far greater educational opportunity being available to Austrian than to Chinese youth.
However, nothing prevents broadening the scope of application of equality of opportunity.
For example, one might uphold the ideal of a global marketplace in which all transactions conform to formal equality of opportunity applied world-wide.
It should be noted that formal equality of opportunity so understood puts moral constraints on market decisions.A communist society, in which political, social, and economic privileges accrue to communist party members, might conceivably be run in such a way that communist party membership is determined by competitive examination.If the examination were set so that the person who earns a top score is the best qualified for the post of party membership, and that person is offered party membership, formal equality of opportunity would be satisfied.Formal equality of opportunity might obtain in a variety of social settings.As defined here, this ideal does not presuppose that the production and distribution of goods and services are organized through a market economy with private ownership. The background assumption is that a society contains a hierarchy of more and less desirable, superior and inferior positions. In a caste society, the assignment of individuals to places in the social hierarchy is fixed by birth.The child acquires the social status of his or her parents at least if their union is socially sanctioned.The ideal is opposed to nepotism, the distribution of what should be public offices to one's relatives and friends just because they are near and dear to the distributor and quite independently of their fitness for the post.In this entry for the most part the terms “formal equality of opportunity” and “careers open to talents” are used interchangeably to denote the same ideal.An alternative formulation would have it that when a market economy satisfies formal equality of opportunity, each market agent selects partners for interaction according to the extent to which interaction with those particular individuals or firms would further one's legally permitted goals.The ideal of formal equality of opportunity has limited scope.