ABSTRACT Some egalitarian liberals have proposed a division of moral labour between social institutions and individual agents, but the division-of-labour metaphor has been understood in different ways. This paper aims to disentangle some of these different understandings, with an eye to clarifying the appeal of the egalitarian-liberal project and the challenges that it faces. The idea of a division of moral labour is best understood as the expression of a strategy for accommodating diverse values. It is not an apology for economic self-interest or a device for justifying personal acquisitiveness.