The fairness of social inequality?

Nov 2010
1,583
I'd like to start a discussion about the basic fundamental fairness (or lack thereof) in social and economical inequality.

Let's face it: There will always be inequality.
And let's face another fact: Inequality will increase the likelihood of even more inequality.

Historically speaking inequality started with the scarcity of fertile soil. Those who had the control of fertile soil, that is, those who came there first, got the right to the best fertile soil.

You don't have to be physically strong to get socially strong. All you need is to gain the control of the means of controlling your subjects. A man with a loaded gun has more control of 500 individuals than any individual without a gun. He can make them do what he likes them to do, if they are in his sphere, like within the range that the bullet can reach.

These are the facts. I just hate to discuss facts, because... you can't discuss them, they are just facts. I'd rather like to discuss the ethical issues. Like: Just because inequality is a fact of life doesn't neccessarily mean it is ethically fair or a goal in itself! - or is it?

I fully know this is a very dangerous subject because inequality is so accepted among people and has been so ever since we went away from the Stone Age.

Again: Inequality is a fact of life, but is it ethically fair like some GOAL we have to reach? It may be a MEANS to a certain goal, but does it have to be the goal itself?
 

Jake10

Ad Honoris
Oct 2010
11,960
Canada
People work hard to improve themselves, this can mean becoming stronger, more educated, influential or anything else you can think of. Self improvement has rewards, or should, and others who are not as successful may feel it is unfair, but there is nothing unfair about it. It is unfair when a person who has worked hard to achieve something has it stolen, which is sometimes justified by some who have not worked as hard to achieve.
 

Fox

Ad Honorem
Oct 2011
3,937
Korea
Inequality is just so long as it is the right sort of inequality. A society rewarding someone more greatly in direct proportion to their greater contribution is both reasonable and fair, and contributes to the goal of a thriving, prosperous, and just society. Ethical problems arise when people are rewarded more greatly despite not contributing more greatly (or perhaps not even contributing at all!). Anyone who derives wealth from ownership (be it ownership of land, the means of production, large previously-earned sums of capital, or so forth) is an example of such unjust remuneration.
 

srb7677

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
2,379
Plymouth,UK
People work hard to improve themselves, this can mean becoming stronger, more educated, influential or anything else you can think of. Self improvement has rewards, or should, and others who are not as successful may feel it is unfair, but there is nothing unfair about it. It is unfair when a person who has worked hard to achieve something has it stolen, which is sometimes justified by some who have not worked as hard to achieve.
You seem to be labouring under the assumption that how much people have and are paid is directly proportional to how hard they work. If this were wholly true then whatever wealth inequalities existed would be wholly just.

Yet even the most cursory of glances at the reward structures in this world quickly reveals the fact, to those ideologically open-minded enough to see it, that rewards often don't equate to how hard someone has worked at all. Millions of people work damn hard for long hours in low paid jobs, yet they remain vastly poorer than millionaire sportsmen who simply kick a ball around a couple of times a week.

It is precisely because pay rarely reflects effort that inequality is often so unfair.
 
Mar 2012
18,030
In the bag of ecstatic squirt
The fact of inequality is the justification of the fairness of the law of nature. The acceptance of that truth that one should be able to level the playing field is the rationale for considering it as ethical based on the standard that the society perceive life. Possession of better genes by a person is something ethical so that fact of superiority and elitism within that human trait is a justifiable act and it is proper. Those demeanor that are inappropriate are provided with its corresponding punishment so perhaps if there is no violation of the law, that fact of advantage to those who are not successful in ones endeavor should not be considered as the fault of those who are better than others.

While it is true that civilization had taken over the primitive ways, there are not really that much changes of life except that the law which was invented by the wise guys that governs the game of life is advantageous for those who know how to play with the rules. So if that person possess a gene that has not much skills and talent then their suffering should not be attributed to the awesomeness of those who have them. Why should one be deprived to showcase thy skills and blow those who are inferior of thyself? Oh, if it is the other way around then that is deprivation of the exercise of freedom.

I don't know why that truth should not be accepted. The acceptance of the truth is fair, ergo it is ethical.
 

Crystal Rainbow

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
9,998
Cumbernauld Scotland
You seem to be labouring under the assumption that how much people have and are paid is directly proportional to how hard they work. If this were wholly true then whatever wealth inequalities existed would be wholly just.

Yet even the most cursory of glances at the reward structures in this world quickly reveals the fact, to those ideologically open-minded enough to see it, that rewards often don't equate to how hard someone has worked at all. Millions of people work damn hard for long hours in low paid jobs, yet they remain vastly poorer than millionaire sportsmen who simply kick a ball around a couple of times a week.

It is precisely because pay rarely reflects effort that inequality is often so unfair.
I can understand what you mean about the over paid footballers who you hear about having affairs and stories about them being drunk in night clubs. I have heard many of talented musicians struggling to make a living, when some talentless person who can not sing a note or play a musical instrument get to play to mass audiences.
 
Nov 2010
1,583
The fact of inequality is the justification of the fairness of the law of nature. The acceptance of that truth that one should be able to level the playing field is the rationale for considering it as ethical based on the standard that the society perceive life. Possession of better genes by a person is something ethical so that fact of superiority and elitism within that human trait is a justifiable act and it is proper. Those demeanor that are inappropriate are provided with its corresponding punishment so perhaps if there is no violation of the law, that fact of advantage to those who are not successful in ones endeavor should not be considered as the fault of those who are better than others.

While it is true that civilization had taken over the primitive ways, there are not really that much changes of life except that the law which was invented by the wise guys that governs the game of life is advantageous for those who know how to play with the rules. So if that person possess a gene that has not much skills and talent then their suffering should not be attributed to the awesomeness of those who have them. Why should one be deprived to showcase thy skills and blow those who are inferior of thyself? Oh, if it is the other way around then that is deprivation of the exercise of freedom.

I don't know why that truth should not be accepted. The acceptance of the truth is fair, ergo it is ethical.
Again, you accept truth because of its truthfulness, but why do we have to accept truth just because it is the truth, if we can actually change truth to be another truth?
 

d'artanian

Ad Honorem
Aug 2010
2,950
USA
All I can think of is the Kardashians as an example of the total unfairness in life. :)

On the other hand, who's to blame for elevating non-celebs and sportsmen over those who make lasting and monumental contributions to society?

Inequality exists (in part) because the masses - I'm talking about western societies - are often complacent and easily led by propaganda - placing value in the superfluous vs practicality, rationality - we're not called sheep for nothing.

In other parts of the world, people are so preoccupied putting a meal on the table, and figting disease, they have little time to think beyond the day. Sadly, this often makes them easy prey for the exploiters.
 
Mar 2012
18,030
In the bag of ecstatic squirt
Again, you accept truth because of its truthfulness, but why do we have to accept truth just because it is the truth, if we can actually change truth to be another truth?
That is because an information is beyond destruction. Even the black hole cannot alter the truthfulness of it and henceforth such truism is beyond change to another existence because it cannot be replicated into another being. The human brain has the infinite power to think aloud of just anything but the transformation of the same into practical use is another thing.

The spread to infinity is inside the box hence the limitation of everything is a fact thus there are just things that can't be changed by sheer willingness from within.
 
Jul 2011
4,668
Toronto, Canada
Fair and unfair is really a very abstract way of making a judgment, so its imposable to deal with such an important issue based on the word fairness only, something far more serious is needed.

Economic inequality is unsustainable, simple as that.

There is nothing to debate or philosophize here. This is a matter of common sense... When you have lots of poor people and a few rich people, there comes a time that those poor people will try to get what the rich has. History is a great proof for this. Just think of the French revolution, those poor people did not sit there asking each other, is it fair that the aristocrats have more than they could ever need and we the poor nothing, they just picked up their pitch forks and the rest is history.

Economic inequality is unsustainable and it will always result in a disastrous end for the rich.