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What is equality?

"Liberty is equality"

   --  Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

Some dictionary's will define this as: 
The state or quality of being equal.

Not such a useful definition, but we do know, that to be equal, you have to be equal at the lowest level. With people, that is at the individual level.

"No-one is equal to anyone.
Even the same man is not equal to himself in a different day."

   --  Thomas Sowell

The state creates inequalities

The state is one of the biggest sources of inequality. State mandated inequalities are everywhere and damaging.

What type of equality?

Type of equality  Justice  Society
Equal rights for all  Natural Justice  1
Equality of outcomes for all  Social Justice  2

If you are for Equal rights, then you cannot be for 'Mens rights', 'womens rights', 'gay rights'  as giving one group more rights than others means you voilate the principle of equal rights for all.
Or you could be for these rights, but they apply to everyone, so then it's redundant to talk about them separately.

If you are for Equality of outcomes, you cannot be for equal rights. Because the equality of outcomes is prioritised aboved equal rights for all.

So when it is asked "if you like justice, why do you oppose equality, because equality is social justice?", the reason is social justice displaces and replaces natural justice.
You must deprive people of their lives, freedom and property to achieve it.

This is not just theory, this is historical fact. Countries that have the goal of equality over equal rights, have cared little for natural justice. Anything goes to achieve equality.
USSR, China , North Korea , Cambodia are just some countries that have killed millions of citizens in the name of socialism.

For those who want to disown those countries, that have done this, and say that this is not true socialism, or it was bad people at the top.

Equality of opportunity

Equality of opportunity should not mean equality of reward.

Equality of outcomes

Socialist look at distribution at time 0, a horizontal time slice. 
"Why are things not equal now, because they should be?"

3 men on Island
  •  one catches fish
  •  one builds a home
  •  one does nothing
The two who work, trade a home for fish, the third complains he has nothing and this is socially unjust

It is known that the bad workmen who form the majority of the operatives in many branches of industry, are decidedly of opinion that bad workmen ought to receive the same wages as good, or that no-one ought to be allowed, through piecework or otherwise, to earn by superior skill or industry, more than others can without it.

   --  Stuart Mill

Does equality exist?

You can ask yourself this question, just try and think of one place in nature where there is true equality?
Now ask yourself why. The obvious answer is, that there is no equality in nature, and not only that, but nature requires that there there be no equality. 

"Genuine social equality is a myth, in reality there is a natural inequality of wealth and social position, justified by a corresponding inequality of social responsibility."

   --  Andrew Heywood

Not every sperm and egg has the same chance, neither the foetus. Not even when the infant is born, it may have an unequal size family's to another other infant, or be born in better or worse times and places than its ancestors.  
No creature naturally seeks equality, it just tries to survive. So in essence equality does not exist.

There is however one way in which all living creatures are equal, they all own themselves. No creature owns another, or can control another actions.

There is an argument, that people are different, we not only survive, but thrive. There is an abundance of resources at our disposal everywhere you look. However these resources are not spread evenly. Although, we cannot make old and young the same age, or the tall and short, or even the thin and the large, we can takes resources from one and give to another. This is the aim of economic equality.

Meritocracy fails to negate inequality, the two concepts are incompatible. Equality requires that there be no merit, if there is, then there is no equality.

Is economic equality possible?

Economic equality is only possible at a fixed moment in time.

As soon at the initial redistribution is done differences in peoples spending habits will make people unequal again. To remedy this, the powers that be could reallocate money every minute to make people equal. But that would make money pointless and not even communist governments like North Korea and the former USSR achieved this.

E.g If the powers that be reset money so everyone had the same amount on day 1, David Beckham would be one of the wealthiest men on Day 2 from being in demand to make endorsements and match fees etc.
How would you resolve that?

Equality is an impossible goal, so Government can always get more power trying to achieve it!

Equality is a snapshot in time, which shows people at the peak of thier career and people who are just starting out on the same Gini coefficient scale. You can't compare these two groups, and you will find the inequality measure drastically falling if you were to adjust the scale.

“Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model, and set to do exactly the work prescribed for it. (individuality is a human trait)”

   --  Stuart Mill

Expecations of equality

Most books that write about utopia have some notion of socialist equality. However most dystopian books also have a notion of socialist equality.
Its seems that Utopias are  the goal but dystopias are the reality.

Wanting equality is an expectaion that life is/should be fair. Accepting that life is not always fair stops us from sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves about it. 

"On the collective view, your post-tax income is simply another part of government spending. Cutting taxes is a welfare payment to those it benefits, which must be paid for. The collective view of incomes also explains why fairness is always taken to support a higher top rate of tax, no matter how high it already is.Those who think that equality requires progressive taxation are not confused about equality. They are confused about how incomes are generated."

Is economic (income or wealth) equality desirable?

“No-ones ideas  of excellence in conduct is that people should do absolutely nothing but copy one another.”

   --  Stuart Mill

Equality quite often results in llevelingdownwards rather than upwards.

To have economic equality, is to eliminate difference. Difference is one of the things that has made the human race what it is today. If we all thought the same and acted the same there would be no new ideas or progress. That would make us all poorer.
To have economic equality would mean you would have no economic freedom.
Equality of outcome does not work, if you got the same income no matter what you do, there would be less incentive to produce as much. Less produced means less consumed, meaning we would all be poorer. This is backed up with tonnes of historical evidence check the most equal countries at North Korea, Cuba and USSR - ask yourself if you would have like to live in these countries.  
The worst in society, the criminal, the sloth's would be as well off as the best, the honest and the hard working. -Equality rewards sloth and disincentivises hard work.
To maintain equality the government would have to determine everyone's wages and spending decisions. The administration costs of doing this properly would be immense, not to do it properly would be unjust, in both cases the centralisation and documentation of power would mean that the economy would be slow to respond to change.(one reason USSR failed).

That the undesirable parts of economic equality, in large doses are proportional harmful in small doses.
People who advocate economic equality, realise that every individual has a right to property - the justification for economic equality. But that some people have rights to others property and others do not have rights to their own. Effectively a contradiction as property rights are conditional, meaning they are not rights.

"Social equality is injust because it treats unalike individuals alike."
   --  Andrew Heywood

Is inequality justice? People are rewarded by the market based on their productivity. Unless it can be shown that the wealth of the rich was stolen, coerced or fraud has been committed then the income distribution is the result of voluntary transactions and it is therefore morally acceptable.

How much money is in one person’s pocket and whether that amount is greater or less than the sum in his or her neighbor’s pocket is not itself a morally significant element in human life. What matters is how it got there.

Markets don’t necessarily generate equal outcomes, nor do they require equal endowments. That’s not just a regrettable cost of having a market, though. Inequality is not merely a normal outcome of market exchange. It’s a precondition of exchange, without which exchange would lack sense. To expect market exchanges, and thus societies in which wealth is allocated through the market, to result in equality is absurd. Equal basic rights, including equal freedom to exchange, are necessary for free markets, but free markets should not be expected to generate equal outcomes, nor do they rely on equality of conditions other than legal rights.

Would you still be for inscreasing economic equality, if the focus was taken off allieviating poverty? Or if reducing inequality increased poverty.

A quote from Hayek
The classical demand is that the state ought to treat all people equally in spite of the fact that they are very unequal. You can’t deduce from this that because people are unequal you ought to treat them unequally in order to make them equal. And that’s what social justice amounts to. It’s a demand that the state should treat people differently in order to place them in the same position. . . .To make people equal a goal of governmental policy would force government to treat people very unequally indeed.

Health equality

And if you wish, give him the following example of the ideal he advocates. It is medically possible to take the corneas of a mans eyes immediately after his death and transplant them to the eyes of a living man who is blind, thus restoring sight. Now according to collectivized ethics, this poses a social problem. Should we wait for the mans death to cut out his eyes, when other men need them? Should we regard everybodys eyes as public property and devise a fair method of distribution? Would you advocate cutting out a living mans eye and giving it to a blind man, so as to "equalise" them? No? Then don't struggle any further with questions about public projects in a free society. You know the answer. The principle is the same.

   --  Ayn Rand

Legal equality

People are the only creature on earth to have legal systems. Legal systems have been set up to enforce justice and order. Law is peoples interpretation and attempt to implement justice. In reality, what is legal and what is justice can be quite different. 
Aside from this question of justice, there can be equality of legality. Some laws can apply equality to everyone .
These laws are the ones that apply on an individual basis. These are individual rights.

Olympics is a force for good and at its heart is the idea of Merit.

Educational Equality

Quote 970

"Children might be equally worthy of consideration as individuals; they might be equally entitled to fair treatment. They are done no service, however, if they are taught that a poor performance is the same as an excellent one. Schools which avoid competitive sports or prize-giving ceremonies do their children no favours. The real world outside school is not like that, and they will be ill prepared for it."

   --  Masden Pirie

Quote 979

"Behind the idea often lurks the doctrine of egalitarianism, and the feeling that children really ought not to be brighter than each other. With this comes the determination that nothing should be done to encourage it. And this involves the rejection of special schools where the bright children can feel the competitive challenge of their peers, and be pushed even further. Not only is the view a malicious one to the children concerned, it is adverse to the betterment of society. It is very often the bright children who go on to become the achievers, and develop the new products and processes, and the new ideas that benefit the rest of society. By holding them back when they are young, we may prevent the development of that ability "

   --  Masden Pirie


Quote 359

"Inequality of facilities calls up the idea of merit"

   --  Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

Quote 1230

"Aristocracy is tyranny by a politically established elite
Democracy is tyranny by the majority
And when a government protects individual rightss, the result is tyranny by talent or merit. (and since merit means "To Deserve", a free society is ruled by a tyranny of justice.

   --  Ayn Rand

I find the harder I work the luckier I get.
Any man who ascribes success to "luck", has never achieved anything and has no inkling of the relentless effort which achievement requires.

Does equality take individual circumstances into account.

"No pay system can be fair if it fails to reflect individual performance," Mr Hutton said. 
For that matter nothing can be fair if it does not reflect te individual circumstances.


Nonegalitarians neither necessarily assert the undesirability of equality, nor need they assert the desirability of inequality; they merely reject the exclusive egalitarian focus on equality as a goal, to the exclusion of other goals, and especially the focus on assuring equality of material wealth.