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 is one of the biggest sources of inequality. State mandated inequalities are everywhere and damaging.
Equality of opportunity should not mean equality of reward.
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
The two who work, trade a home for fish, the third complains he has nothing and this is socially unjust
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.
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.
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!
Equality quite often results in levelling downwards rather than upwards.
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.
"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.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/7133053/Pope-attacks-Labour-laws-on-equality.html "Equality" conflicts with religion