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.
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?
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."
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.
Economic equality is only possible at a fixed moment in time.
Is economic equality possible?
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 acheive it!
“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
Is economic 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.
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.
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.
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 princple is the same.
-- Ayn Rand
Olympics is a force for good and at its heart is the idea of Merit.
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
Inequality of facilities calls up the idea of merit"
-- Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
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.