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Is equality feasible and is it worth achieving? Subquestion: By your definitions, is equality synonymous with fairness?

This is an idea I recently fell upon while thinking about colleges and scholarships. I was wondering why I've been told (not actually witnessed) that minorities get a better chance of getting in college for being a minority. This was apparently an attempt to level the playing field and make things for equal for applicants. I realized that in their attempt to equalize the playing field, they made it unfair. What are your thoughts on this situation and any other equality situation? Do you think people should be going for fairness or equality, both, or are they essentially the same thing?

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    Jun 16 2013: Equal RIGHTS for all are of utmost importance; however, I believe in neither equal OPPORTUNITY nor a LEVEL PLAYING FIELD.

    We ALL have different opportunities presented to us at different times based on where we live, who we know, what we do. We ALL have different advantages which we can leverage. Rather than hope for different opportunities or envy other people's grass, we should embrace our unique situations and we should all have the RIGHT to pursue the opportunities we find.

    A world where everyone had the same DNA, got the same opportunities, got the same rewards, lived in the same houses, and were equal in all things would be as boring as a world without mountains, valleys, rain forests, and deserts. I appreciate the variety of life those environments support. Different opportunities and playing fields drive that variety.

    So bring on the different opportunities, but let's make sure we give equal RIGHTS to pursue those opportunities.
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      Jun 17 2013: Very well argued! I fully agree.
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      Jun 17 2013: Lets hypothesize here Drew, for point of discussion of the points YOU raised.....................

      'My name is Forrest Gump and I want to be a Rocket Scientist..................what equal RIGHTS can you give me to achieve my dream of becoming a Rocket Scientist?

      Or are you really telling us that the truth of the matter is that....................Some pigs are more equal than others?

      And what of the folk that are just 'plain stupid'..............what equal RIGHTS will you give them and at who's disadvantage and who pays the piper?

      Just asking.......................
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        Jun 17 2013: Leveraging your analogy, Forrest Gump arguably might not be a good rocket scientist, but he took advantage of his many opportunities to do many great things. He leveraged his unique skills with the opportunities that presented themselves to him.

        Let's suppose there was a great rocket science school in Houston, TX and there was another kid living 5 minutes from the facility who was able to be part of a rocket science program. "Equal opportunity" to the extreme would mean that Forrest Gump should also have a great rocket science school with a rocket science program 5 minutes from his house in South Carolina. In fact, to be equal for ALL kids, we would need a great rocket science school with a rocket science program 5 minutes from EVERY kid's house. THAT Is equal opportunity. Do think that is realistic?
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          Jun 18 2013: Well Drew ....starting at the bottom of your comment;

          Nope that is not realistic anymore than equal opportunity or equality is!

          And I further suggest my 'Forrest Gump' analogy like the movie (which like most movies are just unrealistic escapism entertainment) was just to highlight the unrealistic idea/concept of equal opportunity or equality especially as something that can be 'ordered' or legislated or even expected to be feasible with the diversity of the social, cultural and economic constraints on the planet.

          And would I be correct to assume my ...'And what of the folk that are just 'plain stupid'..............what equal RIGHTS will you give them and at who's disadvantage and who pays the piper?'........ was too 'politically incorrect/sensitive' to go there? :) :)

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    Jun 4 2013: There’s a big difference between equality of opportunity and equality of outcomes. Too much focus on the latter has diluted worthy efforts to promote the former. It’s all a question of access. And yet with each generation the advantaged recognize injustices against the disadvantaged that their forbearers either ignored or were not cognizant of. Whether we like to admit it or not, we are capable of advancing as a people, as slowly moderating attitudes toward gender, race and sexual identity attest—statements about “how it’s always been” notwithstanding! Diversity and equality are not mutually exclusive terms—rather, they are linked and complementary indicators of a society’s health and wellbeing. We would do well to avoid the misconception of viewing equality as synonymous with homogeneity and as a threat.
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    May 19 2013: "Everyone is equal, but, some are more equal !!!"
    I think this should sum it up.... while everyone is equal as a human being yet some are a little more than equal. Could be on account of the body given to us by nature/God, the parental property inherited, the resources at our disposal, the relationships one enjoys, the education one gets, life's experiences or other such reasons.... I fail to understand WHY SHOULD ALL BE EQUAL.... If all are rich who would be poor, if all would be boss who would be the subordinate, if all would be powerful who would they exercise their power on ..... If all will be Tigers who would be the goat????????

    RESERVATION/ QUOTA for the minorities only makes them powerless... they become more dependent and assume their success as guaranteed ... The correct approach should be to increase the resources available for the society so that everyone has a fair chance of working on them... and yet all cannot be equal !!!!!
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      May 19 2013: I agree with you in totality!
    • May 21 2013: Very well said Vaneesh.But again the question arises is that everybody is clear about the very concept of equality or providing equal oppurtunities to the not so previleged society members,and i am sure people who are responsible or posses the power to decide what oppurtunities needs to be provided lack the power to bring the reality upfront for their own good.Powerful yet powerless.Quite an irony,but that has become a gospel now and people have become complacent with this flawed concept.
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    Jun 12 2013: Thank you for bringing up this topic. I think there is a very important distinction which would not have occurred to me otherwise.

    All men are NOT created equal. We are not even all men. Our social, economic, education, physical abilities, mental strengths, emotional abilities are extremely varied.

    We ARE equal in importance. (This answers the first question.. is it worth it.. well each person is important, therefore ensuring each gets the same opportunities as others is putting this credo into action, otherwise it's just another empty waste of words)

    Fairness levels the playing field. Fairness is when more money is spent on the disabled so that they are able to get the same end result such as mobility. Fairness is when minorities get preference in limited ways for limited amounts of time until they've caught up, then when the playing field has been leveled, the preference is no longer required. fairness is alotting more money to be spent on a dilapidated school to get fixed up rather than sending each the same amount of money to each where one spends it all on plaster and the other spends it on getting a second swimming pool.

    Feasibility to me isn't even a consideration. It's the right thing to do. It is feasible on a worldwide scale over time.
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    May 24 2013: I conceptualize fairness to mean "a state where outcomes are based upon a reasonable set of rules that are consistently applied across the population," whereas I conceptualize equality to mean "a state where outcomes are the same across the population". Given the varying abilities of individuals within a population, an equal outcome would almost certainly require an unfair system.

    Theoretically, I would be in favor of promoting a culture of fairness by eliminating institutionalized favoritism: no more college legacies and no more affirmative action. However, we will never be able to eliminate informal favoritism, such as nepotism and networking. This means that even under such a scenario where institutionalized favoritism is removed, wealth and power will still have the ability to beget wealth and power through informal means. This means the wealth and status of your parents will always have an unfair (by my definition of fairness) impact on where you end up in life. The only way to eliminate this effect would be if we all started off with the exact same resources (my definition of equality).

    Therefore, it would seem, a society cannot be fair unless it is equal and a society that is equal is almost certainly unfair.
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    May 19 2013: My life experience has shown me that some great scholars come from the worst possible economic and social conditions while some people who have the greatest access to economic and educational means end up as criminals. There is no single answer capable of fully resolving social ills which have grown out of de facto or de jure conditions established over time. The remnants of slavery have seemingly hamstrung the African-American population in the United States since their emancipation. We can also conclude that all women were subjugated to second class status until they received the right to vote, were given the ability to fully control their fertility, and policies were put in place to end discrimination in the labor force. In fact, laws were put in place to correct a historically unbalanced playing field for minorities and women. Unfortunately, some of these laws are viewed as a zero-sum solution wherein a class of people feel a potential loss of position and privilege rather than a belief that all parties will benefit universally.

    Time appears to play in the favor of resolving some social issues. For instance, women have become the majority in most American universities. As women filter throughout all majors (women of all skin colours) they should eventually break through all barriers in the labour force. It just takes TIME and patience. I don't have enough characters to provide a complete response, but to the heart of your question, fairness and equality operate on two different planes - equality is often achieved through a host of legislative or legal responses to a belief that there is a lack of fairness in any particular environment. Title IX was created to deal with the disparity between expenditures for male and female collegiate sports. It was considered unfair that women's sport was not equal to men's. Legal and legislative means leveled the playing field.

    Unfortunately it is a slow process mired in a presently destructive political environment.
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      May 19 2013: Thanks for the insightful comment! I have a question on the second paragraph. Do you think the reason women have become the majority in most American univesities was because of time (so it was kind of inevitable for that to happen), because of legislative means (an overcompensation for the disparity resulted in more women than men), a mix of both, or something else?
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      May 19 2013: I like your last line! I am writing a paper that touches on 'living by your own values' for English class. I agree with your point that forced equality is not really equality. I don't think we should compensate from the past however. I think we should just learn from it and move on. Also, agree with your point on the infinteness of discrimination (unless our free will taken and we become robots :)). It's just a part of our imperfect world as imperfect species (like that insurance commercial). We can, however, not let laws be prone to perception and discrimination, positive or negative.
  • Jun 17 2013: "Equality" is a myth. If, in this country, we are able to choose what we want to do with our time, treasure and talent, then there will be inequality because some have more time, some have more treasure, and some have more talent than others. It's how we plug that back into society to enrich the lives of others that makes the difference.

    "Fairness" is a myth. Why do sports figures make millions in a year and our teachers make so little. (It our complaints vs the explanation that illustrate the myth.) Why are we forced to pay taxes for things we don't' support? Why are some people more gifted with music, or art, or math...

    THe only place where "equality" and "fairness" become reality is when you and I are under headstones. We are both equally dead, and both fairly dead. It may be unfair in *how* you or I died, but *that* we die is equal and fair.
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      Jun 17 2013: Thanks for the comment! I don't like to think of equality as one term. I like to split it up in various sectors and levels, many of which have been brought up by commentors. We are equal in that we share this one planet, one body, and (depending on your religion) have one life/death.

      Fairness is much more difficult and relies much on the POV as much as anything else. One situation may seem fair to one person, but unfair to another (probably don't need an example here). I don't know if fairness is achievable because of its ambiguity and how it never seems to be universal.
  • Jun 14 2013: 'Equality' is a protean concept and takes on different meanings for different people (and peoples), in various environments and/or contexts. While the inclusion of the notion of equality is the majority of constitutions, and grand political declarations are a reflection that equality is something humankind holds in high regard, and something worth achieving; it is also evident that is not an immutable notion, that is, what it means to be equal evolves with society. So is equality feasible? The answer to that question is no, because equality is subjective to the society that demands it, and the same society clamouring for it is a living creature, constantly evolving, constantly struggling with it's own beliefs and idealogies.

    The pursuit of equality is not futile however, much in the same way that living is not an exercise in futility because death awaits us all. I don't know if this helps.
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    Jun 14 2013: Somehow, I feel this discussion is simply a collection of personal experiences of fairness and evaluations of them in the world around you. I suppose I’ll be dragged into joining it.
    Apart from the annoying exchanges regarding Allah, there is also the disappointing lack of analysis of the root of inequality and unfairness. I suspect many of you have felt prejudice and discrimination rise into your minds at some point in your lives, but what caused such emotions?
    As a government orphan after WWII, placed in a foster home that desperately needed the supplied subsidy for rearing me, I could see we had nothing in that poor home, and remained completely unaware of state support in my academic endeavours that led to my admission to a top school surrounded by children of the elite. Thus, I saw both ends of the prosperity scale, a mongrel among thoroughbreds.
    Despite my headmaster’s refusal to recommend me for a university because of my humble roots, there was ample encouragement from the rest of the teachers. I emerged unscarred and saw the world as fair and equal.
    Equality and fairness are intangible concepts, existing in a remote generalisation, usually at a governmental level. We need to find them within ourselves. The emotional rewards for personally applying these attitudes are incomparable. They are easier to offer than their opposites so why are social groups easily infected by the virus of discrimination?
    If Americans allow their dogs to bark at black people, they must teach it to desist; if Brits cast slurs at Muslims, they must be publicly chastised. Find your inner peace and tolerance, distribute them and we shall have no need of discussions like this.
  • Jun 12 2013: When it comes to equality, chances of it working are very slim in my opinion, especially with income and skill equality. This is because, equality in my opinion leads to unfairness, because as someone personally tries to better themselves (get a new skill, etc.) it would be unfair then if the playing field was levelled as then the individuals do not get a sense of satisfaction and with that, I feel that it could lead to negative effects, such as dumbing down because no-one cannot be bothered to increase their "ableness" in their abilities or learn new skills which then would build self-worth.
    Also, equality is not a concept we can give a certain scale to, therefore, we can ask ourselves, to what extent is equality, what does equality look like in action? If we cannot answer this question, then how can we achieve equality? We always have to design the product before we can take the necessary steps to manufacture it or make it into reality.
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      Jun 13 2013: Equality in action: Here is a simple and shallow answer. Giving equal opportunities to everyone -> genders in military (not that I agree with any form of military force), gender and race right to vote, civil rights movement. I can think of many more if needed. Equality for fathers!!! Discrimination free. You are no better than me and I am not better or above you overall. 2+2=3+1. We all have weak and strong points about ourselves. Finding those is another topic.
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    Jun 11 2013: Hi Kai,
    It appears by definition, that equality can be synonymous with fairness, and in my perception, it is good to see things from a fair and equal standpoint.

    That being said, the example you provide seems to suggest that in an effort to encourage and support equality, the "playing field" may have been tipped too far toward unfair. With many human endeavers, the pendulum swings, and perhaps it is an effort to find the balance.
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    Jun 11 2013: Hi everyone,

    I'm French and I never understood why (O why...) did we put "Equality" at the heart of our national ideals, since it is so far from facts...
    No, equality doesn't exist and hopefully never will.
    So, technically speaking, you should read "Equity" in its stead. Cause this is what we truly meant.

    The problem, as always, is ONLY semantics. ;)

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      Jun 11 2013: Hi Scalino,
      It has been awhile since you commented on TED......Welcome back!
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        Jun 12 2013: Hi Colleen,

        a bit amazed you remember me... :)

        Thing is, I rarely have anything to add to the richness of TED users' opinions...
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          Jun 12 2013: Of course I remember you Scalino, and I believe your contributions are rich and valuable as well:>)
  • Jun 10 2013: Dear B. R! Firstly I believe in Allah because the most truthful Prophet Muhammad, the true representative of Allah for the guidance of Humanity, told us as such. We believe in him. For you, this may be irrational, just wait for a while please. Second, my rational mind compels me to accept Allah as the Supreme Being who exists on His own, Who has not been created by some one or who does not give birth to some one. He is alone, All-Mighty, All-Wise. For you, this may again be irrational again. Third, I observe the things around me. In the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alterations of the night and day; in the sailing of the ships through the oceans for the profit of mankind; in the rain which Allah sends down from the sky; and the life which He gives there with to an earth that was dead; in the living beings of all sorts that He scatters through the earth; in the change of winds and the clouds which trail like slaves between the sky and earth; there indeed are signs for a people that are wise.
    Allah cannot be Allah if He depends on somebody else for anything. He cannot be created, otherwise he will become creation of some one. He is alone all by Himself, exists on His own, has no personal needs. He has no partners whatsoever, He is controlling every thing all the time, He is free from any defects or needs. That is why He is Allah, otherwise he will then be creation of yet another Supreme Authority. We, in the form of souls in the heavens(before coming here) have clearly acknowledged Him to be our Master and Creator when He collected us there and asked this question" Am I not your Rabb?". We all' souls replied,'' Yes". That genetic urge to believe in one Supreme Being is manifested by the fact that every human being does believe in some sort of God, though distorted in most of the cases. Even the seculars and the Agnostics also , in the hearts of hearts, do believe in some sort of Supreme Power responsible for every thing. Let us think about it.
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      Jun 10 2013: Well muhammad..............

      Appears you have a Belief.

      A Belief does NOT = FACT!

      A Belief does NOT = PROOF!

      A Belief = Nothing more than believing in something.

      You also make many claims!

      A claim only = A claim unless you can provide proof thereto/of!

      You have made many claims and provided proof of none.

      Go and think about this..................

      "Second, my rational mind compels me to accept Allah as the Supreme Being who exists on His own, Who has not been created by some one or who does not give birth to some one. He is alone, All-Mighty, All-Wise."

      Kindly explain the rationale to that claim?


      "Allah cannot be Allah if He depends on somebody else for anything. He cannot be created, otherwise he will become creation of some one. He is alone all by Himself, exists on His own, has no personal needs. He has no partners whatsoever, He is controlling every thing all the time, He is free from any defects or needs. That is why He is Allah, otherwise he will then be creation of yet another Supreme Authority."

      As per the aforementioned it appears you claim to know the infinite mind of your Allah and that is because??

      And as a final ponder muhammad.......... Can Allah create a rock so big and heavy that Allah can not lift it?

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    Jun 2 2013: No extreems are good. Equality is all about giving THE SAME rights to EVERYBODY, not promoting minorities. What these colleges do is not an attempt towards equality, it's an attempt towards giving privilege to specific social groups -just not the ones that usually have the privilege. Yes, equality is feasible. We are capable of it. But we have a long way to reach it.
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    Jun 2 2013: Hi Kai,

    Thanks for your debate.
    Countries in Europe have various reactions and systems of inclusiveness to address the issue you're focusing on. Some have introduced quota-policies which basically means the following - you have to recruit so-so many percent of a given group (either nationality, gender or whatever that may be...) to be socially fair. It works well in some fields, giving the usually ignored/malfunctioning/discriminated groups a chance to have a life worth living and contribute to the society at large, but only if representatives of those groups are actually at a level of competence that is required. How to assess this level is a different issue, there is a lot of prejudice in the assessment process, especially in the private sector. The sociolinguistic, cognitive dynamics within this system create a lot of justified feelings of unfairness in all sectors (ask me for examples...) but the bottom-line is that what "seems" or "feels" unknown, new or strange is usually underestimated, criticised or discriminated against, in more or less gentle ways, codified or not. Another point, definitely more important in my bottom-line is that the codified or non-codified unfairness seems to be the rule-of-thumb for some people ("not like us? probably stupid and/or can be misused with no consequence for us, doesn't need the same opportunities, who cares...")

    The system mentioned above seems to create less confusion or discussion/protest in some fields, less in others. Maybe because of the simple reason which is the following - proportion of the inclusiveness mentioned above in education and work and requirements around both. Not everybody needs a college degree, everybody needs to live and be treated fairly.
  • Jun 1 2013: Equality is a notion that should be confined only to rights. Not only are people not created "equal", they are not created at all. We exist through a genetic compositing process (usually from less than ideally matched gene sources) and live our entire lives as "unique" members of the same species. The dynamic known as neuroplasticity, which was not known or understood for ages, allowed wrong and dysfunctional assumptions become culturized--even into the foundation of our education system where "creationism" is observed as fact even if it isn't taught. Kids are taught that they are either a boy or a girl and that's that, when in fact nature has many aberrations in which gender assignment is mixed or anything but precise. Because we a dogmatically taught to observe the falsehood that we're are one or the other, people with gender assignment issues and even sexual preference issues which may be related to hormonal conditions during gestation are never acknowledged. And therefore, mythology is perpetuated that often leads to cruelty and persecution rather than simple biological understanding. We couldn't be "equal" if we wanted to--the only thing we should try to be equal about is equal rights, equally fair treatment, fair access and other issues that have to do with order in society. It is a great desire of mine o live to see the day when uniqueness is embraced and the misnomer of being "created equal" struck from popular thinking. We all have unique potential that is determined by neuroplastic response to intellectual challenge. No one is damned by race or ethnicity or gender to a limited range of intelligence. The sooner we optimize our acceptance of that the more peaceful and cooperative the world will be.
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      Jun 13 2013: Thank you very much for your comment! I agree with many things you stated. Near the end, when you were "talking" about "no one is damned by race or gender to a limited range of intelligence," I currently agree with that statement, although don't know much from a neuro___ point of view. Some people say though, that since a particular race, let's say African Americans, did not have the option to do a particular thing, let's say go to school or college, for generations, that they have a disadvantage intellectually as their parents would not be educated and wouldn't teach their children and that would be passed down (not genetically, but nurturally (by nurture I mean). Do you think they should have some advantage in receiving education (I personally don't know)?
      • Jun 13 2013: Race is a sweeping generality applied to individuals--all of whom have the capacity to grow more capacity. It shouldn't matter if one's family had slaves in it versus tribal nobility. The nature is still the same. It is a world of unique individuals all of whom can overcome (unless they are prevented by defect, disease or disabling event). What we need to do is fundamentally change the social dynamics of education to deal with social defaults such as mob loyalty and misinterpretation of authority. It can't be the work of one teacher versus another. Any crusader on that level is bound to be crucified. It has to come about that there is something big happening which holds new value to those whom avail themselves of it. This may involve some societal growing pains.
  • Jun 1 2013: I think the answer to your question is resoundingly yes. Equality is very feasible. And yes it is synonymous with fairness. However, I also think it is important to clarify a few things. Humans are all human, we all posses the same brain and almost identical DNA. But more philosophically, we are all in the same predicament. That being, none of chose to exist, it is simply what happened to us. None of us chose what family to be born in, or what environment to experience. So whether you argue nature or nurture (and you should be arguing both simultaneously), you cannot argue equality, because equality exists intrinsically in the universe. Balance is the nature of reality, be it from the perspective of Taoism or super symmetry. That said, what you should be asking is: "is inequality feasible? And if so is inequality synonymous with unfairness?" Because the truth is, humans created inequality around the time they created judgement, and judgement is nothing more than an indication of profound ignorance.
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      Jun 13 2013: We may have similar brains, but they can work quite differently. I really don't know much about DNA, but I know the chemicals and proteins (nucleotides whatever) are similar but the arrangement isn't the same (right?). I think humans are fairly diverse, because of the complexity of our brains. Inequality is inherent in nature at small scales. The Universe as a whole most likely has an equal distribution of mass, but within a smaller sector (our galaxy, solar system, planet), mass is distributed very unevenly. Humans as a whole may be fairly similar, but one country's pop. compared to another or one person compared to another, it seems we are very different. Thanks for your comment and I hope you reply with some more ideas and philosophies from your POV!
  • Jun 1 2013: I agree with what Valerie was saying on the equality question, it has really been defined well by the world's basic human rights, or the opportunity of work to full potential to obtain the rewards from it.
    I would, however, define the fairness in a slightly different way. Fairness could be defined by morality. Some religion or people within a particular culture would define that different classes or different heritages as destined to be a ruler, a land owner or a servant based on a person's heritage or caste classes. This kind of "fairness" is not practiced in majority of the countries.
    The prevalent consideration nowadays is the needs among a group of people. For example, if a ship is stuck by a small uninhabited island, or in the middle of the sea. There would certainly be rescue transport of relief within days. So, if a bunch bread loaves are to be distributed as temporary foods, it is probably fairer to give each of the men a full loaf, a 2/3 of a loaf to the woman and 1/3 a loaf for a young child. This is due to the emergency, otherwise, even the young child would usually given a full loaf. Analogously, in a welfare system in normal times, the welfare beneficiaries are given what they need, which may not be equal to possession of the rich taxpayers. Certain times, morality comes in, say, on a sunken ship. The captain will maintain the orderly evacuation by putting the children and women on the life boats first, preceding the menfolks. This is considered fair.
    Finally the question of "fairness" in the tax systems in various countries of the world is really a knotty problem. Of course, the equality principle does not apply here. But what about fairness? This is really a very complicated question. However, a reasonable solution would be 'what kind of tax system will result in the optimal economic growth that will eventually improve the wealth (living standards) of all the citizens in the country?' Unfortunately, no universally accepted formula has been found.
    • Jun 11 2013: Please see the solution I have proposed above to this "knotty problem".
      • Jun 11 2013: There are already such taxes on the land and structures on it; called property taxes, by the municipality and other authorities. For some locations the rate could be as high as 3% per year. As to the fairness of this tax, I don't want to comment on it because of its complexity. The tax is, of course, justified by the fact that the local governments are responsible for the infrastructure and securities of the location where the land is located.
        • Jun 12 2013: Property tax is not the same as land value tax. The property on the built-up land, namely the buildings is the largest investment compared to the value in the land. So when property is taxed there is a force that disinclines the site owner to invest and build. This trend actually encourages speculation in the land value.

          With a tax on land values alone the situation is entirely different. It is the land that is being held unused for purposes of speculation where this tax is likely to have the greatest effect. The land speculator or monopolist including the banks supporting him/her, will then find it not worthwhile to continue to hold the land unused. This will allow more land to become available and the competitive price of it will fall. This will result in the cost of goods produced on this land to be less, with the result of greater demand, employment and less poverty. Thus land value speculation leads to poverty.TAX LAND NOT PEOPLE; TAX TAKINGS NOT MAKINGS!
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    May 31 2013: Equality to me means that we all, EVERY human, has the equal right to work, unobstructed, to achieve goals and work toward improving our lives and hopefully in turn the lives of others doing the same. Provided the work is an asset to our existence and not strictly for personal achievement at the expense of others.
    Fairness to me means that we all, If we put forth effort and do our part to the best of our capabilities, will, unobstructed, be rewarded for our efforts. I also believe that fairness involves helping those struggling if possible to get on the right track. I do not however believe it is fair to demand those who work hard pay for those who won't work at all.
    in fairness and equality concerning work, there are plenty of jobs a less capable person is capable of.
    As long as we live in a society of people who do not want to try at all and people who refuse to contribute to the common good we will not have congruency in our world. Everyone feels victimized.
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      Jun 13 2013: You said "Fairness to me means that we all, If we put forth effort and do our part to the best of our capabilities, will, unobstructed, be rewarded for our efforts."
      Who will do the 'rewarding' and how will the determination of the amount of reward be made?
      When I was a young teacher, we actually thought that every capable student should have the chance to finish college. That still seems like a good goal to me. But the key word is capable. That core idea changed to 'every student should have the chance to finish college.' This caused people to support the students who were not capable, and of course, the overall average of college graduates declined. This led to the idea that high school students should have better preparation. All of them, as if they were all college bound, and capable of college level work. Of course more high school students went to college. Then the colleges instituted classes which had the purpose of preparing the incapable students to do college work. Of course these classes helped a lot of students. And the average achievement level of university graduates fell again. This idea, whether it is called 'fair' or equitable' doesn't matter. What matters is that the institution of education is pushing many students beyond their capabilities and wasting untold millions of dollars creating graduates that are not capable of doing work indicated by their degree. This lowers the perceived value of all college degrees. Well! This can't go on, and we have to find out why. Ah ha! It must be the teacher's fault. Let's make the teachers more responsible for improving the scores of students. Let's increase the number of standardized tests and link them to teachers who fail to bring up scores. Then we can fire bad teachers! What? Fire teachers based on standardized tests? Let me look at that test... OK! No problem! I can teach to the test as well as they do in any other state. And "suddenly" the goal of excellence is abandoned in favor of responsibility.
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        Jun 13 2013: My mom was an educator and shares many of the same ideas as you. She thinks (and I agree with her) that college shouldn't be the ultimate goal for every student. We need people for many other things that can be learned on the job without prior education. There was another post on if college should be a measure of success, and I think it doesn't have to be, especially those who are not academically gifted.
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          Jun 14 2013: My Mom said as well that our society is taking the dignity out of common labor.
          Ironically if our country were to collapse as we know it there would be a major turn. The labor force would no doubt fare better than the book learned.
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        Jun 13 2013: Actually, "putting forth the effort" is just as key as being capable. There are many highly capable people that do not put forth the effort of many less capable folks.
        It seems the education system is in it self a victim because of the diversity in the human race. There is no way any person, place or thing can cater to the specific needs of every individual, even though every individual expects it. Then the finger pointing starts.
        True equality and fairness are impossible without every individual taking ultimate responsibility for ones self and having compassion toward others.
        And I guess to answer Kal's question, for me, in my opinion, from my perception, yes equality is worth striving for and no they are not synonymous.
        Let's say two students have the equal opportunity to attend a class. Both get a's, one studies all of the time, has a tutor and never takes a break, while the other parties, hardly studies and does not need a tutor because the subject come easy to them. Fairness is they both get the A. The one that has to work harder at a subject should not feel as if they deserve the A more than the other, but feel proud that they made the A. If a teacher on the other hand see the effort of the one student and uses them as a shining example how a person can achieve a goal then fantastic. But the students would do well to just be glad they live in a place where they have opportunity!
        Human nature is far too subjective I guess to have definitive answers.
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          Jun 14 2013: Hi Valerie
          You said "Human nature is far too subjective I guess to have definitive answers."
          It depends on where you put your point of view. Walking a mile in somebodies shoes may work in many cases, but it can not change the absolute value of his capability and effort and I would add, his morality. Morality has many roots and can easily become a source of angry dissension and violent behavior. I understand that. That does not mean we give up the search for moral foundations. Human nature is subjective only if the light of morality is removed. Then its every man for himself, and the devil take the hind most. But we can use morality to judge, to determine fairness and equality in our own behaviors and in judging the behaviors efforts and capabilities of others. Perhaps one of the causes of the current downward trend in society is the failure of cultural institutions to support morality. The separation of church and state is a viable political decision. But somehow, morality must be insisted upon from within the society, somehow. We are suffering the consequences of not allowing or supporting our teachers when they attempt to insist on moral behavior in their classes. Thieves, liars and bullies are allowed to remain in classes because those in authority fear the political fallout if they are 'too strict' or 'racist' or 'conservative.' Teachers are ordered to treat everyone as if they were capable, as if they were moral, as if they were all 'equal.' In reality, many students come from environments in which capability depends on caliber, and might makes right. Teachers who can continue to function in these environments have my deepest thanks and admiration. The political society only wants to make these teachers give more tests so the bad teachers can be weeded out. Don't blame the diversity of the human race. Blame the failure of our society to base opinions on moral values.
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    May 28 2013: Equality sounds like a great thing at first, but I'd like to look at the working of the Universe to illustrate a point.

    The Big Bang, according to the theory, led to an expansion of the universe, a giant gas ball of sorts. Now at this instant in time, if equality prevailed, each unit or matter would be arranged in perfect symmetry. If symmetry exists, there would be no differences in the forces at any point.

    If this was the case, there would be no stars, no planets, no life.

    The root of all life we know it was the result of tiny imperfection in the spread of matter at the birth of the universe.

    Beauty only has a place in a universe where its opposite is present.
    Knowledge has place only if ignorance exists.
    Progress will have meaning only if things were not already perfect.

    So as for equality, we can strive to achieve universal health care, free education and such. Although, in absolute terms, we would never be able to achieve a total sense of equality as it would be against how nature itself functions. Predator needs prey for life to go around.
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    May 24 2013: Personally I view that everybody should be given equal opportunity under most circumstances (may be wrong).
    However nature is a cruel master...
    Who is to say? Maybe nature will never give us the gift of "true equality" (considering events out of our control).
    Not to say we shouldn't try to get rid of unwanted social mechanics (which are in our control) to form a more equal society for all, free of prejudice and discrimination.
    "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character." - Martin Luther King.
    After pondering this a bit more. I would like you to consider :
    Equality and fairness for whom?
    Considering that equality may not be fair...
    Success often isn't fair (and is definitely not equal).
    Depends too much on your perspective.
    I would say it is better to be one (equal or fair), than neither.

    EDIT : A big question "could" be :
    Which is more important "Happiness (subjective well-being) vs Equality + Fairness"?
    Aren't we assuming that to be fair and encourage equality will increase happiness?
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      May 24 2013: Curious here Bernard your ' Personally I view that everybody should be given equal opportunity.'

      Would that equate to your plumber being allowed to perform a Trepanning procedure on you or designing the next Mars explorer under your program of equal opportunity?

      Or does your program of 'equal opportunity' perchance have similar rationale limitations to those already in place?

      Just asking.
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        May 24 2013: My system would have education more personalised to the individual to try and maximise (his or her) potential. However I admit it would be expensive. Which is a problem which would have to be dealt with.
        For instance you are assuming the plumber doesn't (or didn't) have the potential to do a "Trepanning procedure".
        Considering this is a "set view of intelligence", for you are not anticipating the fact humans can change. There may be "late bloomers". Like Einstein, or Darwin.
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          May 25 2013: Well Bernard.......Suggest you ponder this for 30 secs...........

          But let me firstly digress..............I'm only a new kid on the block here and what I've noticed (in my opinion) is that this forum is populated with a majority of (probably well meaning/intentioned folk) with ideas on how all the worlds assumed ills can and should be dealt with/solved. But appear (to me) to encapsulate a lot of 'pie in the sky' without considering the history of the planet and whats already in place and what some of changes proposed require as to their implementation.

          Moving back onto topic............

          My point is that we have a system in place that incorporates a whole spread of social strata or caste system which perform certain required tasks to keep the wheels of our society turning.

          Now if we educate everybody to their full potential how disruptive or beneficial is that going to be to society?

          How many rocket scientists do we need compared to toilet cleaners?

          But then again Time Traveler so kindly reminded us in one of his posts as I recall ....... 50% of the population are below average intelligence, so I am guessing we won't be running out of toilet cleaners anytime soon even though some folk herein feel everybody should be going home with the same size pay packet. :)

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        May 25 2013: You raise some interesting points!
        I admit I may be being a bit too idealist...
        I do agree that my idea would be very expensive. So I do agree they may not be practical.

        Thinking about it more, some changes you can do without money. (For instance encouraging the work ethic of admitting mistakes, accepting introversion, and more relying on intrinsic motivators rather than external motivators.)

        "50% of the population are below average intelligence"
        How do you define "intelligence"?
        Personally I find this a complicated question so I split it into 5 parts :
        - Emotional intelligence. (Or Charisma?)
        - Memory.
        - Intelligence. (Analytical + Practical )
        - Wisdom.
        - Creativity.

        Also you require the "willpower + motivation" to see your goals through. Bearing in mind you may view some "intelligences" more valuable than others. (Supply and demand).
        All I would want to do is give people the "opportunity" to find their passion (and thus enter a state of "flow" more easily). This is achievable without using more resources.

        Bearing in mind "stereotype" threat (with regards to IQ tests) : Where what society "expects" of you can become a "self-fulfilling" prophecy. And you are assuming the way we measure intelligence is (indeed) valid.
        And then come the question : "Is intelligence over-rated anyway?"
        I hope you take all of these points into consideration.

        I personally would recommend these threereads to you :

        - "The Talent Myth" (Are smart people overrated?)

        - "Late Bloomers" (Why do we equate genius with precocity?)

        - "None of the Above" (What I.Q. doesn't tell you about race.)

        Kind regards,
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      May 28 2013: Pls see post above. "Power to the People!" And best wishes from the far side of the Atlantic.
  • May 24 2013: (Please note I use Blacks because my studies involve heavily in race and politics) In regards to what you were told about minorities, I know that in my courses pertaining to Black studies and history, it is not that it is made easier, but in a nutshell trying to make the playing field even rapidly. After 200 years of enslavement, with additional years of oppression and repression through the Black Codes, policies, terrorist groups, and violence Blacks were really far behind from everyone else. Things like affirmative action and the many minority based scholarships is to allow us to catch up from a 300+ delayed start. It is a process that was made to be fair, and make it to its destination of equality.

    But I will contend that the original intent has been greatly distorted from its original basis, and may sometimes in fact perpetuate racism, by creating racial quotas. This meaning that since Blacks constitute for approximately 17% of the US pop. then they should be 17% in all professions, but is that really fair? It is not fair to Whites and Blacks alike. Based on articles by Edward Greenberg, Mack Jones, and Dr. Diclerico, I think there needs to be further look into policies intended to help minorities, because the ones currently do not address the bigger issue of minority oppression (blacks, women, Hispanics, etc.) But I think until then it is the fairest thing on the books at this moment.

    And as far as achieving equality in the US is impossible with a capitalist system, which basis is that many are on the bottom and few are on the top.
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      May 29 2013: As to your last line, I agree! Boy Howdy! Do I agree!

      I am curious as to what the "official educational view' is on the Barak Obama Presidency. He gets to live in the WHITE house. And that house was originally built/rebuilt by slave labor. There is a lot of justice in seeing a Black American living in the White House. I like that!

      I grew up in the segregated South of the U.S.A. And if you were BLACK, NOTHING was fair and NOTHING was equal. If things were fair and/or equal, THAT was because it was WHITES ONLY. Black people had to make do with whatever the White people didn't want or threw away. And for Black Americans, that had to suck! There was nothing fair or equal in that!
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    May 24 2013: Why should Saturn be jealous of Jupiter?
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      May 29 2013: Why should Saturn be jealous of Jupiter? Why not Jupiter be jealous of Saturn?

      Because Saturn has a Hoola Hoop and gets to dance!
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    • May 24 2013: Hardly. He sounds like an idiot to me, speaking of eugenics, race and the holocaust.

      Lol, he blames progressives for the holocaust. There was nothing progressive about the holocaust. The Jews were allowed to prosper mightily in Germany, partly due to working together, until they tried to dominate and use the german people, to do their bidding. Then the Germans kicked all the Jews out of office. Then the Jews declared war on the Germans first, because the Germans kicked them all out of office.

      If the above is wrong, please explain how the Jews prospered so well in Germany for so long and why all of a sudden, did the Germans hate the German Jews so much.

      Look for all the things that are not spoken of or you will never be a good debater.
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        May 24 2013: Are you out of your cage why they are cleaning it?

        Care to back any of that up?

        You sound like an idiot to me.
        • May 24 2013: Name your poison. I spoke of several things. Knowing how you are afraid to debate me in the sciences, you figure you have a lock on Thomas Sowell claims.

          You could have responded to what I wrote about him above, but it must be you don't understand or you would have already written your objections. Gosh, are ya gonna call me names! Wow, what a debater you must be,

          Why don't you email Ted or call them or whatever y'all do when you can't get past your first copy and paste, so Ted can censor me before hand. Lol
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        May 24 2013: Your regurgitating crap is your opinion. Can you do anything above contradiction?
        • May 25 2013: Debate me on gravitational lensing, answering my questions and assertions and I'll answer y'all's. you can use all 5 of you against me. Put up or run away
        • May 25 2013: If you accept, the first thing I'll do is prove science purposely and knowingly, lies.
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        May 25 2013: WTF does that have to do with the equality meme?
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        May 25 2013: You connect that to equality how?
        • May 25 2013: Everything is connected. If there is no equality and fairness in society, sooner or later there will come a bloody revolt. America claims to be about truth and justice, but that's not the case and even science is being used to enslave most of the people, through ignorance.

          From the freedom of information act,--- former CIA Director, William Casey, “We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”
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        May 25 2013: Life isn't fair.

        You can spend the rest of your life blaming the "rich"

        or you can live your life.

        By the way the rich are just a statistical category, very few stay in that or any other category. The rich is a straw man created by those who benefit by you wasting your energy blaming them.
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        May 29 2013: Mr. Ryan, you are entitled to your opinion as a matter of LAW! You are not, however, entitled to your own facts here -- which are WRONG.

        Maybe we are treating you Un-Equally? Maybe we are being UnFAir? Welcome to my Concentration Camp because YOU are very much in the minority here. Few, if any, who are vitally invested in TED agree with you on any of the issues you offer. And the Holocaust was the worst possible human nightmare. What is your opinion on the ovens used for burning bodies to ash or the gas chambers used to accomplish genocide?

        And what are you going to do if they come for YOU. Is that fair? Is that Equality?
      • Jun 11 2013: Ryan, your facts are horribly wrong. It wasn't simply Germany but most of Nazi occupied Europe where the Jews were collected for the death camps. This was racialism of the worst kind not simply because the Jews were taking over Germany (which was demonstratively untrue). The opposition to Hitler in 1933 by a solitary Jewish lawyer (who put Hitler on trial and proved him to be a lier) resulted in that lawyer being jailed, tortured and eventually in his suicide.
  • May 21 2013: My two cents worth:

    "Fair" should be limited to children's fairy tales.

    Equality can have different meanings, so debates about equality are subject to misunderstanding.

    Discussions about equality require a specific definition and context.

    No two people are actually equal. Equality should not be achieved by imposing equality when one person is better than another (in a specific way and context).

    Deal with individuals as individuals, not as members of a group.

    Rather than pursuing abstract ideas like equality and fairness, it would be better to try to minimize harm.
  • May 20 2013: Humanity being what it is, concepts like "fair" or "equal" will always be a topic for debate. However, I think the best ethical advice comes from Kant, who says that the principles of our actions should be universalizable. In theory, this should make things as 'fair' as they can possibly be. For example, if a member of society is considered to be disadvantaged in some way, we may tip the scales in their favor. And while this may appear to be unfair to someone who does not have this particular disadvantage, the principle of the action is based on the idea that our good will should extend to everyone equally. I would give a starving man food...even if it were Donald Trump.
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    May 20 2013: If I am pondering the guest list for my gala dinner party I am not socially or morally obligated to observe any rules of parity, equality, or fairness. I can choose who I want and exclude who I want without offering an explanation to anyone. However, if I am composing the invitation list for my local chapter of the Primal Drum Lodgefellows Society I am bound by the bylaws of the organization. A private college answers to no one regarding their policy because they receive no support from the government. A public institution is absolutely bound by the laws of the land in forming and enforcing their policies. No person should be given advantage over any other person for reasons of gender, race, creed, economic status, athletic or academic ability, or color. All legally qualified citizens have an equal right to participate in the benefits of publically funded enterprises. Social equality in the public arena is feasable and violations of said principles are punishable by law.
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      May 20 2013: There are two schools of note which could NOT get around government regulations when it came to their policies about inter-racial dating - Bobby Jones College and Grove City College. In your own home you can be as inclusive or exclusive as is your want, but I doubt you could ever consider a public organization being able to exclude anyone. If not legal then social actions would ensue as they did for the golf course in Georgia.
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        May 20 2013: I did not say a private enterprise would enjoy continued success if they chose to enforce certain policies. What I said was social equality is feasable. It might result in loss of business, but BJU and GCC are free to insist upon their moral stance regarding dating. It is not illegal for a private school to prohibit any, or all, dating on campus. Those who prefer, and insist upon, certain on-campus dating privileges can re-enroll elsewhere. Private enterprises exercising preferred moral regulations which do not conflict with the established legal rights of every citizen is not an example of inequality. It is an example of freedom. The result of exercising such freedom might well be a substatial loss of enrollment, but it is NOT an example of violating constitutional, or civil, rights.
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          May 21 2013: BJU and GCC are not allowed to have discriminatory practices even if based in religion and and they do not receive any funding from the USG.

          In a different way a private enterprise cannot enter into discriminatory practices such as building into their charter that jews, blacks and women are not permitted because exclusionary practices based on those conditions are illegal and the Justice Department could sue, as they have in other cases.

          My point was actually more in agreement with your statement not contrarian. I believe that laws, when enacted "correctly", can serve the best interests of equality.
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        May 21 2013: RE: "BJU and GCC are not. . . " Understood Glenn. I do not think Uncle Sam has gotten so intrusive that he dictates dating rules for private schools. Anyway, if genders are considered totally equal then there should be no gender specific enterprises. Bubba should be allowed to join the Women's Club and Mary Sue should be allowed to join the Boy Scouts. Equality is feasable, but not always advisable. Vive la differance!
  • May 20 2013: the premise of fairness is flawed due to the randomness that advantages pay themselves out in. in order to create true fairness we must all be given the same choices/opportunities and decide the same way as well. however equality can be achieved through a universal acceptance of all cultures and people that do not directly harm another. for once a universal acceptance is reached there will be no need for discrimination or its reversal.
  • May 20 2013: you can achieve equality only if you take away rights and happiness away from everyone
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    May 19 2013: Kai, There have been many lawsuits about a male promoted over a female, a white hired instead of a black and a highly qualified person not being admitted and a person of minimum qualifications getting the slot.

    Based on population you should walk into McD's and see 4 white, 3 Mexican, 1 black, 1 asian, 1 native with a half male and half female. I don't see that as either fair or equal just idealistic.

    Would it be feasiable to have a % of students accepted to each college based on sex and race. Thus the Law college of any school should be so proportioned. As an example: there are 12 purples that have aced the tests, 6 greens aced it and all the other scores were below acceptable levels. But the law says that only 1 purple and only 1 green can enter the law college and the rest must be by percentage of population. Don't sound fair ... even worse no males applied ... what do you do now?????

    I do not see equality as being fair ... one deals only with numbers and percentages and the other asks to do what is right, or percieved to be right.

    The reason people resort to calling everything "prejudice" or "racial" is that it works. It has nothing to do with fair or equal. If I come into your resturant and say you are a racist and the word spreads .... true or flase makes no difference ... it is now public info that will harm your reputation, your business and if you are receiving government assistance it may cancel that. So you go to extremes to quell the incident on the spot. I get my way. You did nothing wrong.

    The worst possable administrator of any program is the government ... A good idea is beaten up added to and over managed, over funded, over staffed, etc .... All ability to make decisions are taken away from those on the scene and the letter of the law becomes burdensome and obsolete ... yet must be enforced.

    In summary these things cannot be legislated. To believe they can be is a fools game.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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    May 19 2013: If this is the first you have heard of this issue, Kai, the term to look up is Affirmative Action. The wikipedia article, for example, discusses the affirmative action policies in place across the world. In some cases these policies are in effect in education and in some cases in employment.
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    May 18 2013: Outstanding question.

    In my young days, when people of certian minorites were supposed to ride in the back of the bus, I pondered the rationality of this situation. Eventually, I resolved that it was not equality, as the constitution of our country (USA) and other countries intended. It was unfair.

    When one changes a situation that is considered socially unfair, how do we go about correcting the damages cause by that practice? Consider this: The US has existed as a nation for over 200 years. Of that time, many citizens of this country were denied the intelectual tools that would have assisted them to compete with other races. They were depresses in their mental and economic growth by an unfair majority. Of course, as a given race of people, they suffered greatly.

    By offering a path, whereby they can equalize the discrepherency in this growth, we make amends and the situation becomes less impacting. The real question is, how long must we continue this course until a sense of Justice has been served?

    Well, when did the factors to remove the inequality come into effect? I'd say in the latter part of the 60's would be a good starting point. So, 2013 - 1960 = 53 years out of over 200. I'd say we should continue for at least another 60 or 70 years for a just compensation. In fact I think those people who are decendents of slaves or the prior owners of this country, should be allowed free "college" education at the institution they qualify for, for this amount of time.

    But, it's also not fair that those decendents of the slave owners should have to suffer for the ills of their ancestors. We should make education free for every citizen. That would solve all the problems.

    I think that's fair. Justice is not always delicious. It can have a sour taste and be thrown in our face by those who despise it often, but it is justice we should strive for -even die for.
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      May 19 2013: Thanks for the compliment and the comment! I like your let's-make-education-free spirit! I am still not sure how I feel about affirmative action. I think that groups that have been withheld economic or education tools should know that they have access to them now, but I'm not sure if we should try compensate for their ancestors' lack of access to those tools. Take one family in one of these groups for instance. I can see how education wasn't offered to their parents, grandparents, and so on, so now they are discouraged by their family to pursue an education filled life. I can see how the intellectual spirit was not instilled at home. But I think that if they truly had a mind that would flourish in universities and had the opportunity to get accepted into a college (as they would be now), I think they would at least try and maybe even apply to a top school if they felt they would do well there. I think that they wouldn't need extra motivation by the government. Now if their family can't afford college, they should know about financial aid. I think that the only affirmative action that any group needs is awareness of the end of discrimination (positive or negative) in most of this world or country. I don't think we should give them any more money as a racially priveleged student in the same economic situation.
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        May 19 2013: You are honest with your reason. I give you that. But remember..... If we can get together and agree to make education, especially college education free... There is no need for affirmative action and Justice is also served. It doesn't get any cheaper then that.

        I see no reason to make graduate schools free, etc. But Undergraduate education should be free. In the long run it will benefit the whole nation by raising the bar one notch above the long cherished High School Diploma which sets the separation point among citizens as the line that lies between those who are determined and those who fall off the ladder. We need more determined people with a little more education if we are to realize a dream of becoming a Class I civilization.

        A high school student realizes the necessity for determination. A college graduate learns to channel that determination and use it to bring civilized dreams into reality. They learn to find real answer to real questions. It's not enough to be a nation of opportunity when the tools to obtain opportunity are made to higher tolerances and of finer materials.

        When I was a child, the ideas about energy and science we hold today were mere science fiction. The idea of a class one civilization depends on a society that has learned to discipline themselves and conquered their feelings of self and bear responsibility for others. Otherwise, they will be like children playing with matches and dynamite.

        We have to raise the bar. Technology is fast on our heels and pretty soon it will give us the resources to completely destroy ourselves. Given our current ability to handle world problems.... that is exactly what will happen. We have to ask, what is the cost to preserve our species on this planet. How does education fit into that economic picture?
  • Jun 18 2013: That which is fair is not always equal, and what is equal is not always fair. The question is about affirmative action. Studies show that minorities who get into college perform as well as or better than their counterparts post college -- in the workplace. That is the ultimate test of an educational institution and its policies: how well does it prepare its students for life after graduation? As for the policy itself, on the surface it may seem unfair, but it is important to realize that applicants to any given institution did not have equal educational opportunities prior to admission. Compare, for example, a kid who attends a poorly performing inner city school with its association gangs, single parent homes, malnutrition, lack of reading material at home, lack of role models at home, poor medical attention...the list continues, with a kid who attends a wealthy suburban school with all the associated advantages. Who has a better chance of getting into a good college based solely on ACT or SAT scores? Remember, the key to testing affirmative action is post college graduation work performance and studies show that affirmative action is achieving its goals. As an indirect measure of this claim, note that more minorities are now in the middle class of the economic ladder than any time in history. It is also important to note that individual differences do not define this trend: a kid in a poor school might be high achieving and in a high performing school might be underachieving. Look at the data and the trends and will find that equal and fair are decidedly not the same thing.
  • Jun 17 2013: ...Equality doesn't exist in this reference...and so as not the fairness can help a caterpillar to release by cutting the cocoon but not to fly it... general the rights must be well supported with responsibilities and none of the cases they came as a balance....

  • Jun 17 2013: We are often heartless to women. We blame them for having babies even if they are raped or can't get or afford birth control.
    You resent the mother for the meager welfare she gets, what about the father? He obviously didn't use birth control and isn't supporting his child.
    Should we blame the child for needing to be fed, cared for and educated?
    Certainly there are lots of religious leaders to blame who teach women they must have babies and they must submit to husbands who want more kids.
    Many men refuse to use or allow their women to use birth control out of macho or religious doctrine.
    It is impossible for women earning minimum wage to support three children. We help them for the good of the children and for the good of society.
    Pre-school and baby-sitting jobs don't pay enough to survive and certainly don't pay enough for day-care or baby sitters so they can work.

    Do you know the circumstances of the woman who had the third child?
    Republican men think women "rarely get pregnant" from rape. And in Phoenix they don't investigate or prosecute rape. Also happens in the military.
    We reward birth with tax credits and deny the poor even empathy.
  • Jun 14 2013: Absolute equality is not feasible but relative equality is. People are different in many aspects, but the differences are relatively small. Supermen do not exist, and most human beings are of average abilities. If there were such super people ,one may accept a world based on Greek mythology, but humans are still those minute creatures, existing in same conditions. Mutants with superpowers or immortals may change this condition, but till then one assumes that there is really no "substantial reasons" for inequality. On the other hand inequality is in fact a main cause of injustice. A minimal degree of inequality is justified, but a wide degree is unjust and is a cause of hostility and social unrest. Sever equality in privileges and fortune drive people to manipulate and contrôlée society in order to maintain and protect their privelages.
  • Jun 13 2013: Well, I agree that things differ, just as they relate. And while brains are very similar throughout the species, they are not in fact the same. And understanding the proteins that make up DNA, is not understanding DNA. Everyone's DNA organizes their cellular structure, and determines the size of the organs, the color of their skin, their potential for diseases and like a trillion other things. But the structure of the DNA does not change over time, it is always of the exact same construction. And during mitosis DNA utilizes something called a topoisomerase to unzip itself into two types of RNA, in order to replicate itself to ensure it pervades every cell it creates. However, when we aren't thinking about the fact that DNA has always" known" what we look like , we can objectively notice that all humans do not look specifically alike, they definitely do not think identically, and they are certainly not motivated by exactly similar moral guidelines. And all of that is true, thus there is truth to the statement, "humans differ as individuals throughout their species.", however what my initial post was alluding to, was that we choose to differ from each other, and we can choose to relate to each other., or we can relate to our environment, or our universe or our solar system, or a blade of grass. It is this quality of selfless observation that makes science culture religion and society possible. Because your question was in regards to whether or not something like fairness was possible, I though it would be prudent to point out that it is not only possible, but it exists constantly in every aspect of nature and reality we as humans experience. It is a lie that unfairness is even acceptable, and that lie is borne of the fear we all feel when we are made to face our ignorance. Wherein we have to choose what we believe in before we can begin to search for its "realness". And your question implies the opposite.
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    Jun 13 2013: @OP: Gender equality?: Very hard question, but I'll say what I believe...

    Men and Women are NOT equal.
    Men are NOT superior to Women. (I'm a man)
    Women are NOT superior to Men.

    That's how it is...

    In the end, all men and women shall answer to The Creator and The Creator treats with absolute fairness :)
    • Jun 14 2013: Well said Kareem. Don't you think though that the Creator would wish for us to continue that search for 'equality' even though He himself knows that we are incapable of ever attaining it?
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        Jun 14 2013: He demands from us (as far as my limited knowledge is concerned) to be FAIR and good to each other, regardless of gender or race
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    Jun 13 2013: One more comment on this, you started by saying take the 40 hours that Rachel would work. This would be a terrific argument if Rachel actually worked, but she doesn't. Yes, after paying the bills she may end up with a big fat zero. But so do we many weeks. There needs to be some incentive to go to work. What I didn't tell you is that Rachel was already on section 8 for six years with the two kids, when she had the third. Again, a bad plan, but one you can get away with if the government allows it, on the tax payers dime. My goal also did not mention universal healthcare, but I sure would be interested in Welfare reform. There must be a limit, just as there is for unemployment. You said if my husband lost his job there would be a safety net - and that is true,but it would come from the insurance that comes out of his check when he WORKS. And there is a LIMIT to those benefits. This encourages him to get back to do more WORK, to have more money. I don't know if you work, but if you don't mind a big chunk of your check being sent to Rachel and others like her, well then disregard my opinion.
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      Jun 14 2013: The safetynet is there even after his unemployment runs out. The incentive to WORK is still there too.

      "Once you get a free check, why go work for one?" because the amount of money you get is so little compared to what you would make if you WORKed.

      " As far as my illnesses are concerned, I needed to travel to Chicago from New Jersey in February to see a specialist, all at my expense, airfare, hotel, and out-of-network care. If I got the same free money every month that Rachel got, and was able to put it away, that trip would not have caused me to have a credit card bill for the next two years." - You wouldn't be able to put it'd be so poor you needed to use it to pay your bills every month....That's the point....

      "All I'm saying here is if she gets a check, I should to, and you should too, and your neighbor should too." - I agree. I say let's tax income on a percentage, then share the wealth equally. It could be a great equalizer for the huge gap between the richest and poorest of us.

      " and your neighbor should too." - I agree. I live in India. I'd be quite happy If it was the UN that administered the above mentioned program on a world wide scale.

      "I have heard it straight from her mouth exactly what you stated, that she would have to work so hard to have what she has, and why should she if it comes for free?" - I said that? Where?

      "My goal also did not mention universal healthcare" - no you didn't, I did. This what I said: "What would you suggest as the solution? Universal healthcare? I agree!" Since That wasn't too clear, let me rephrase: What would you suggest as the solution? Universal healthcare? I would agree!
      I would even pay an additional 10% in taxes if this were implemented on a world wide scale by the U.N.

      "but I sure would be interested in Welfare reform. There must be a limit, just as there is for unemployment" - There is.
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        Jun 14 2013: Manishka - Back to the question Why go to work if you get a check for free? and you explained that the amount after working would be so small. Isn't that the same for (almost) everyone. There are doctors wives who spend $ all day and have thousands and thousands worth of credit card debt, 200 pair of shoes, and a huge mortgage. Perhaps I was wrong about giving everyone a check - certainly not people like her. So, again, my argument is about behavior. Bad behavior and poor choices very often result in no money. However, I may be a little bitter in my comments as I made what I considered to be good choices in starting a business and working very hard, only to lose everything when I became ill. The car was towed, the house was foreclosed upon, and I worked everyday. This is the chance we take as human beings - we must go on and try again. So yes, I am angry that I support people that do nothing to help themselves, as I sure could have used all that money I worked for to pay my medical bills.

        As far as you idea about paying the tax money for minimum wage job. I give that idea a great big yes! While single moms are working, let the unemployed babysit. While folks are in the office 12 hours a day, let the unemployed mow their lawns, clean their homes, run their errands, all to gain vouchers to obtain their monthly allowance that they now get for doing nothing. I though about a welfare voucher system many years ago, and immediately was shot down as it looked to many like slavery - or something degrading to the person who has to work for their $. Well, I don't consider going to work slavery or degrading. What I was told was degrading by my parents was being on welfare and not earning your keep. So I completely agree about plenty of work to be done so true and if there were a way to implement some sort of work for your welfare check without a huge uproar I'm in. But it will never happen. Being of the system has become a way of life for so many for so long.
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          Jun 15 2013: "Back to the question Why go to work if you get a check for free? and you explained that the amount after working would be so small." - I said that? where?

          What I actually said was: "Once you get a free check, why go work for one?" because the amount of money you get is so little compared to what you would make if you WORKed.

          Since we seem to have a problem with communication, again, let me clarify:
          "Once you get a free check, why go work for one?" because the amount of money you get FROM PUBLIC AID is so little compared to what you would make if you WORKed. That means you make more money if you WORKED.

          "Perhaps I was wrong about giving everyone a check - certainly not people like her."
          I'm sorry you feel that way. I feel that that attitude is what's wrong with the world today- the lack of compassion.

          "While folks are in the office 12 hours a day, let the unemployed mow their lawns, clean their homes, run their errands, all to gain vouchers to obtain their monthly allowance that they now get for doing nothing." I would not support a government That pays the "have not"s to clean the homes, run the errands, mow the lawns for the "have"s all on the taxpayer's dime. These are private citizen services that should be paid for by the beneficiary.

          I would support the government offering jobs to anyone and everyone that wanted to work, at minimum wage for services that benefit the local public or humanity in general, such as cleaning the highway, building the highway under the supervision of experts, conservation activities, working at the school - janitorial, secretarial, teacher's aide, etc.

          To make sure the government doesn't gobble up all of society, I would limit the amount of work each person can do. This would also mean that employers, in order to keep employees would have to offer better - full time work, benefits, more pay.

          This also not a voucher system. it is employment. for money. I would still keep foodstamps for all - rich or not - at sustenance level
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          Jun 15 2013: Amy Win,

          I saw your comment on the thread "Decisions, Choices . . . " and I wanted to encourage you a bit. I left a longer reply for you back on that thread. I left it at the top of the page with your name in the box as here.

          Good luck, and I hope that what I offer you has some small comfort for you. There is hope and some other options are available for you.

          You can always find my comments to you on my profile. That's might be the easiest way to find them if navigating around TED gets confusing. (It does for me sometimes!)
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        Jun 16 2013: Hi Again Manishka: After re-reading our conversation, as well as your bio, I realized that you are truly a very sweet person with a lovely vision and a big heart. I wish that things worked the way they were intended to in this world, but unfortunately that is very often not the case due to some of the things that I mentioned during our conversations. We will always have the greedy and the cheaters and the lazy, and so many times the many suffer due to the actions of the few. To reiterate, I do not begrudge any children and everyone should have a hot meal. I was only voicing my frustration at the loopholes and problems with the system. As far as the government offering people jobs working on roads and such - again a lovely idea, but here in the US we have something called Unions, and when people take their jobs they tend to get annoyed. So, I thank you for our chat and I hope, as I believe that you do, that positive change happens and that we can overcome the negative obstacles that prevent a happier and healthier world. Best to you and to your efforts.
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          Jun 17 2013: Hi Amy,
          Thank you, and I apologize if I came on strong. I realize too that because of your personal circumstances, you are feeling bitter and perhaps rightfully so.

          I agree that there will always be the greedy, lazy, cheaters. I just don't feel that we can give up on trying to make a better world because of them. I don't think that we have fully explored the possibilities of motivation.

          As far as Unions go, the government does also have an obligation to get bids for contracts they're offering and also the option of not giving a job on contract at all if the required work can be done internally.

          I do hope positive change does happen. There are several ted talks about acting on our ideals. This one is about teaching kids activism. I hope people decide that just thinking about lofty ideas is well and good, but acting on them could bring about change in the real world.

          Best to you as well.
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      Jun 14 2013: "I don't know if you work, but if you don't mind a big chunk of your check being sent to Rachel and others like her, well then disregard my opinion." - I do work and also pay taxes. I'm quite happy to let my taxes be used in the public aid program. I would be quite happy to pay more to implement it on a world wide scale.

      Would you be ok with using tax money to give minimum wage jobs instead of flat cash with no obligation? There is plenty of work to be done... highways, hospitals, disabled, teacher's aides,
      During a retinal scan, the user must remove glasses, stare at a specific point, and hold their head still for the 10-15 seconds it takes to complete the scan. A retinal scan is very difficult to fake because no technology exists that allows the forgery of a human retina, and the retina of a deceased person decays too fast to be used to fraudulently bypass a retinal scan.

      We already use credit and debit cards to pay for groceries. What if, instead of using credit cards, We simply had the bank tie it in to our retinal scans. If a retinal scanner was installed at all grocery stores in the world, A single bank account opened that would allow each unique retinal scan to use x amount per week. Already, the bar codes of all items are coded to say whether the item is food or not.

      We could start out with just food.

      Simplified version of What happened in parts of Africa: There was famine. So free imported donated food was given out. The farmers couldn't compete with free. The economy collapsed.

      Selling donated food in times of famine could help resolve that. the proceeds could be used to combat the root cause of the famine (When money can help depending on what the cause is)
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      Jun 15 2013: Amy Win,

      I saw your comment on the thread "Decisions, Choices . . . " and I wanted to encourage you a bit. I left a longer reply for you back on that thread. I left it at the top of the page with your name in the box as here.

      Good luck, and I hope that what I offer you has some small comfort for you. There is hope and some other options are available for you.

      You can always find my comments to you on my profile. That's might be the easiest way to find them if navigating around TED gets confusing. (It does for me sometimes!)
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    Jun 13 2013: Hi Manishka: I'm sorry if you only saw one point of my note. No, I absolutely do not begrudge these children. In fact I wish they had more, starting with a better plan by their mother. And while there are lots of different kinds of mothering, I think that this safety net as you call it allows for a kind of mothering that does not set a good example of what a person should require of themselves to be a proud and honest person. Once you get a free check, why go work for one? As far as my illnesses are concerned, I needed to travel to Chicago from New Jersey in February to see a specialist, all at my expense, airfare, hotel, and out-of-network care. If I got the same free money every month that Rachel got, and was able to put it away, that trip would not have caused me to have a credit card bill for the next two years. All I'm saying here is if she gets a check, I should to, and you should too, and your neighbor should too. I have heard it straight from her mouth exactly what you stated, that she would have to work so hard to have what she has, and why should she if it comes for free? Because in this world we need to make decisions and live with the consequences of those decisions. And when there are no consequences, we don't have to think so hard now do we?
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    Jun 12 2013: Fairness to me seems like a word used when playing a game as facing an opponent. I never understood the saying, life is not fair. Equality is about unity for a greater picture and cause, to live a good fulfilling life with ones virtues for oneself AND others, to share. Why should anyone not have a chance to further their education and knowledge? This could drag down someones virtues or stop them from advancing.
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      Jun 12 2013: Indeed, life is not fair. Whether it be the genes we received or the circumstances in which we were born, there are always those who fared better … but there are likely more who fared worse! All one needs to do is picture what it would be like to be born into a repressive society or perhaps a warped family, and then we can see how unfair it all is. Picture those poor babes who can’t determine who their parents and surroundings are. True, life may be viewed as a game, but considering that this is the only life we have, why waste our limited heartbeats, and why accept the incredibly vast disparity that continues to exist—circumstances that we can both acknowledge and correct. We have it within our power to reduce suffering in this world and to increase happiness ... so why do we blithely assume that our present society is the model for all time? We can and must re-engineer our society, and we must do this not for ourselves only, but for those who have no voice.
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    Jun 11 2013: Equality is both a state of being and a legal right or protection, as recognized by most societies. For example:
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” Declaration of Independence, 1776
    “All men are equal by nature and before the law.” Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, 1793
    “No State shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, 1868
    "All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.” Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948
    Fairness, on the other hand, is not synonymous with equality, but refers to conduct and the administration of justice. Despite these noble sentiments of equality, lawmakers and courts in a just society must pass and enforce laws which ensure equal protection from discriminatory behavior, whether based on gender, race, religion, creed, age or sexual orientation. When expanding access and broadening opportunities to the historically disadvantaged, some who have not previously experienced constraints or limits may encounter what to them feels like unfair treatment—and they may have a case to be heard! There is inherent tension between fairness experienced at the individual level and the fairness of a just society. And like all truths, these concepts are hardly absolute, and constantly evolving.
  • Jun 11 2013: To seek equality is like asking all the rivers and streams in the world to flow into an ocean in a level ground. We have forgotten that it is the difference in levels that allow the cycle of water to complete. In context of our quest to make every thing level and equal, we make it worse. What we should seek is more compassion and dropping of archaic behaviours by each gender that we have this equality.
  • Jun 7 2013: Guess the definition of equality and equality of opportunities should be addressed on different debates. The first is perhaps field for philosophers. The second is an informed desition each state should make. Understanding that state, government and nation are not the same things.

    Personally I always preferred the term equivalent to equality. Mainly because I feel the first allowed us to provide value to society through our differences and not despite of them. Which would mean we are worth the same because of our differences. Otherwise - and this is an opinion, the term would hurt more than it healed. Since being different on any aspect would be simply wrong.

    Equality of opportunities is a discussion to be made by each state. Not by a particular government nor a particular nation within a state. Personally I believe the state should provide the same opportunities of education and health to all citizens. Which is not the same to limiting the amount of opportunities those wealthier can access. It means a state makes a desition wether it prefers to remain competitive or not. Wether it wants to extract up to the last drop of value and innovation from its citizens or only from those who by effort or natural disposition reach the top. Understanding that the first will imply heavy investments with low to medium levels of return. While the second one will incur on the exclusion of contributions from big sectors of the population simply because they didn't do things they way a particular sectors of the state's population though things should be done under a particular mindset consequence of a particular series of events during a particular time frame.
  • Jun 7 2013: Dear Sir, answering this question requires understanding of this universe. Where do we find uniformity in here? Are human beings equal in any respect except that there is general unity in diversity? Do we find any two animals or two plants 100 % the same even if of same specie? No, we don't. Then, how do we expect equality in human beings, in resources, in environment, in results of similar efforts and in opportunities? Allah has created this universe in a manner that inter-dependence is the order of the day. There are rich and poor, physically weak and strong, genius minds and dull minds, beautiful and ugly, leaders and workers, scholars and just the literate,etc. This is how the systems of the world, in fact of the Universe, are functioning so well. The balance is maintained everywhere. Even the planets and galaxies would have scattered and got destroyed if there was no interdependence through magnetic forces. Equals in all respect do not care about one another, hence cannot live for long. Yes, equality is there in application of rules every where, which is indeed the proof that just one and only one Supreme Being is controlling this universe.This is the beauty of the system created by Allah. Let us thank Him and bow before Him alone for all this. Isn't the right time to ponder and reflect?
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      Jun 8 2013: Curious here muhammad ali.......Kindly provide empirical proof that........................... 'Allah has created this universe'................let alone that ......" in a manner that inter-dependence is the order of the day."

      Btw don't bother rolling out the Quaran as empirical on anything otherwise you will be just pedaling the Christian version of 'Circular Logic".

      • Jun 8 2013: Dear Blade Runner! You have asked me the most important and the most fundamental question. I shall try to answer you in a number of stages, it can't be done in one go. Let me say it at the outset that we have not been given the capability to see Allah with our own eyes in this world. However, He the Creator of the Universe, can be seen through His creations. Albert Einstein said," Science without religion is lame, Religion without science is blind"(Paul Davies,"God and the New Physics" Penguin Books, 1983). A building reminds you about its architect, a meal about the cook, a book about its author, a painting about the painter. An effect points out to its cause, a machine to its manufacturer and a design to its designer. Yet, there are people who say,"The Universe became by itself". Atheists say openly, there is no God. Agnostics say, If He is there, where is He? However, even staunch believers may sometimes wonder," Is Allah really there?" " What could He be like?" Science in its search for "Reality" faces the same dilemma: is the universe an accident, or the product of some objective reality? The order in universe points out to a definite grand design. The chain of causality ends at the BIG BANG, but with the enigmatic query still far from resolution, what was before the Big Bang? What was the cause of Big Bang? Why did it have to be? What was before it? Who did it? The emergence of a grand order out of the chaos in the Universe is also surrounded by mystery. Science says that orderly structures and complex activities that we see today have somehow arisen from the featureless ferment of the Big Bang. But this in apparent defiance of the second law of thermodynamics which requires that left at its own, order will turn into disorder with time, unless checked by an external agency. Resolution of this paradox requires the presence of an all-intelligent ever active Super Power. Do you agree? I shall continue further later.
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          Jun 9 2013: No Muhammad...................I don't agree!

          Lets look at your argument ala a rationale deconstruct............

          1. The ability to see or not see the claimed entity 'Allah' is purely a hypothesis based on the hypothesis that one accepts the existence of a 'Allah'.

          2. If one doesn't then you have no argument/case to begin with!

          3. Just because Einstein,Paul Davis or Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi give us their 2 cents worth on a supposed existence of a God/Allah/creator proves squat.

          4.Suggest your ramblings/ponderings about this reminding you of this or that is just your ponderings and proves nothing.

          5. As for this supposition/speculation.........."Resolution of this paradox requires the presence of an all-intelligent ever active Super Power." ie: begs the question why do some Galaxies collapse?...........Allah playing 'silly buggers'? Just more speculation I suggest.

          But hey Muhammad the crux of you Allah/god argument really rests on your question..."what was before the Big Bang? which is based on the rational question/argument of 'everything' must come from some where and that being the rationale, one then MUST ask the question .............'Where did god/allah come from?'

          Suggest to run with the concept/belief/faith that a god/allah just exists because that's the way it is, because it says so in a book, takes logic and rationale to the height of ignorance and sheer stupidity.

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      Jun 11 2013: ROFL........Come now muhammad.......................

      This is how the systems of the world, in fact of the Universe, are functioning so well.

      What rock are you living under?

      Suggest now might be a time for you to go to 'Spec Savers". :)

      Suggest the chaos theory applies to the whole shebang!

      And as for this muhammad....................

      "There are rich and poor, physically weak and strong, genius minds and dull minds, beautiful and ugly, leaders and workers, scholars and just the literate,etc."

      all created you are suggesting by allah I assume.

      That being the case even your Allah wasn't interested in equality and fairness and one has to wonder how devious, malicious and spiteful an entity your Allah is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Jun 11 2013: Equality? Is it feasible? No, it isn't. First question is who will make us equal? Allah we do not accept to exist, who else will do this work of equality? Who will give us birth and take the huge trouble of taking care of the babies? We will not require each other for any thing, why marry, why live together, why make homes? You think the government will do that? Government also consist of people, they being equal, why must they do this dirty work? Man! it is not working any more. the First humans born equal somehow will vanish within a few months. you and me will no more be there to think and speak. I still believe that interdependence is life for us, it keeps us moving, it gives us love, compassion, sympathy and good care. Equality is death for us, it is not workable at all.
        Equality may only be possible when all our needs are fulfilled by some one. Who will that be? No atheist can answer this. Automatic, without any cause? It is absurd. Yes, we believers have the answer. But you do not wish to see Him all around. For a thinking human being like you, evidence in Nature for the existence of the Supreme Creator is all pervasive. The comples structures and elaborate organisation of the Universe, from the whirling galaxies to the heart of the atom, seem to suggest answers to the question, why are things the way they are? Why the Universe at all? Why the set of laws applied every where in the same way? We are a subset of a His Superset. Just as a subset cannot comprehend the Superset, our brains are not made to understand Him fully, but we do feel His presence everywhere through His creations.
        In-equality and interdependence is His design of life in this world. Ideal of equality is not workable, not even in animal world, they depend on one another for survival here. By so doing, Allah has been most gracious to all His creations. Let us thank Him ! Praise be to Him alone!
        You are very special to me, you are thinking and questioning, you shall reach the Reality one day.
  • Jun 4 2013: Socio-economic equality is neither feasable nor should it be desired by society.

    1) There are too many variables that influence equality (health, IQ, personal tastes etc) The existence of equality necessarily implies that we control these variables, we have to impose an equal standard on everyone, whenever this standard does not correspond with an individual's personal aspirations, his rights will have to be infringed upon in order to achieve equality.

    2) Those who enforce equality by definition, have to be unequal to those upon which equality is imposed, if we are all equal, from whence comes the authority with which you impose an equal standard upon me? Without that authority, I may simply refuse your imposition.
    • Jun 6 2013: In the Soviet Union, everybody was equal. Some were just more equal than others.
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    Jun 2 2013: (2)

    I'm sorry if my previous comment was confusing in any way, but to put it bluntly - when a 21-year-old receptionist looks down on me because of the colour of my hair or my name not caring what I do or can, it feels a bit unfair. It's unfair that this receptionist is considered to be more professional because of the first impression with no dialogue or relevant questions involved ("like us" + "competence/experience doesn't matter because of that, we don't have to check" - problem solved) On the other hand, it may feel unfair if this receptionist is underestimated by me because of my first impression (young, looks like this, speaks like that, represents this or that etc.)
    Preconceptions and lack of knowledge (e.g. about cultural differences etc.) play a huge role for some people and they shouldn't when the task is to be fair.

    Last but not least when speaking about equality - you should ask the right questions and do not misjudge or discriminate because of prejudice/preconceptions or just the desire to "seem" fair while not really being that. The quota-system that I mentioned allows that as well in some cases. Examples are many and vary greatly.

    I hope nobody will look down on me because of this or the previous comment or assume anything that is not true without asking what was meant... And that relevant questions will follow :)

    Best wishes.
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      Jun 2 2013: Curious here Anna..................... suggest its none of your business what other people think of you!

      And it begs the question.....................Why should you care what other people think of you?

      And are you living your life for them or yourself?

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        Jun 2 2013: Hi,

        What other people think is no concern to me unless
        a) what they think leads to action which will affect other people, me included, in an unacceptable way, maybe violent or hurtful directly or indirectly
        b) what others think of me may sometimes be interesting to hear about so...cheers :)
        c) I'm living a life for myself and everybody affected and/or included
        d) I sincerily do hope that this life (mine and others') will not be deemed worthless because of inequality discussed in this topic
        e) and that the above (comments, questions, topics etc.) will contribute to change lives for the better.

        Best wishes.
  • Jun 1 2013: Equality is about to reward those who have distinguish positively in our society. But, we must incentivate poors people to crate their own sources of rischness in order to achieve that desired equality.
  • Jun 1 2013: There is no such thing as a level playing field, no such thing as equality. Humans seem to thrive off competition, and winning at all costs. I am not saying this to be negative, it just is. It truly would be wonderfull to live in a world where all were on the same playing field, or would it?
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      Jun 2 2013: Timothy: You naughty, naughty, insensitive person for being offensive and having the audacity to point out the way of the world.

      Keep up the good work!

      • Jun 11 2013: The most basic kind is equality of opportunity. Without it there will always be unfairness and sloping playing fields. But nobody seems able to understand how the field can be set level, so that our natural resources, particularly the land, are being properly shared. Many folks regard the land as a gift of nature or even of God. Then, regardless of how we came to acquire this gift, we should be sharing it so that everyone gets a fair chance to use it. Unlike other forms of durable capital goods, land is not being produced--there is a limited amount of it to go around. But its value is changing and the opportunity being discussed relates not to its area but to the capacity of particular sites to participate in the productive process. The degree of this is measurable in terms of the ground-rent, which is greatly dependent on the natural resources contained within and also on the position of the site compared to the population.

        Starting from a few pioneers, the use of virgin land and other natural resources is initially limited by their territorial claims as well as the poor means for access to its bounty and slow communications. The government gradually invests tax-payers’ money in various infrastructures and the benefits gradually raise the living-standards of the local population, allowing it to be more economically active . It gives the land owners more benefit, since they control and restrict access to their sites. This enhanced productivity of the land is not returned to the community as a dividend on its public investment. But it should be!

        Instead, this advantage is taken by the land-owners whose gain is the ground-rent, the true measure of the land value. This rent on urban sites becomes progressive greater with time and town development. It should be shared by means of Land-Value Taxation, which will encourage land use, reduce its cost and reduce the number of unused sites being speculated in. With more demand the unemployment and poverty will cease.
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      Jun 16 2013: I like your "or would it?" addendum. I agree there is no such thing as a level playing field.
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    May 31 2013: I cannot believe that someone finally notices this. It used to be called affirmative action, but then people realized that it was just reverse discrimination. The only other option is fairness, and I have yet to see anyone try that. For example, my husband works a 40 plus hour per week job. We pay for our health benefits out of his paycheck and then pay for an interest only mortgage payment (so we'll never own our tiny one bedroom home), and then utilities, food and gas for our 14 year old vehicle. In the meanwhile, our neighbor, Rachel, lives in a three bedroom home and is on section 8 housing. so she pays 18.00 per month. She also receives food stamps, so there is no need to watch for sales or clip coupons as I do, since it's not her money. Rachel received about 12,000 ion government assistance in order to go back to school. She proceeded to take online classes and spend the assistance money on her boyfriend She then received a car accident settlement and spent 25,000 on a new car. She did not go to work after school, because this would make her inelligable for all of the benefits that she is receiving, so she stays home and drinks all day. If Rachel gets sick, she is on medicaid, and pays nothing. If my husband or I get sick, we have huge co-pays and deductibles. So, now that you know all of this, will you please explain where the fairness or equity is, because I would like to have some. The workers pay for the takers. The government must stop taking what little the working guy makes and giving it to lazy people who choose to have illegitimate children and sit on their asses.
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      Jun 13 2013: Calculate minimum wage times 40 hrs a week times 4 weeks a month. now subtract her foodstamp amount, cash benefits, a fair amount for monthy rent that has been subsidised. Is there a balance? She is not being rewarded for sitting on her ass.

      Consider her children. They did not choose to be born to her and it's too late to push them back in. Regardless of whether their mother is lazy, irresponsible or immoral, don't they deserve to have food on the table, a roof over their heads, clothes to wear? The possibility that in the future, with the widening worldview that education (even if it is online education) offers, she might decide to better her lot in life and have the tools to accomplish it, therefore the lot in life that her children get?

      Consider the alternative. No public aid or less public aid. Better yet, see it in action. There are many examples of countries like this. The rich stepping around the homeless sleeping on their sidewalk every morning. starvation running rampant. Would you prefer to live in such a place?

      What if your husband lost his job or had an accident? The same system that pays her would pay you. There is a safetynet.

      I see from some of your other posts that you feel you are in this predicament right now. I can sympathize. Healthcare seems so expensive yet such a basic necessity. You've had extraordinary bills to pay just to continue breathing and left with only 29000 disposable income, yet you still don't qualify.

      What does that tell you about your lazy neighbor's situation.

      What would you suggest as the solution? Universal healthcare? I agree!

      A morality trial for eligibilty of benefits? A panel of judges deciding if you deserve anything better? who sits on the panel?

      If you didn't have the stress of paying your healthcare costs, would you still begrudge her children a home?

      Is your point about healthcare or about the illegitimacy of her children?
  • May 30 2013: Government should not use its force to take justly obtained property from some to give to others. Similarly, government should not use its force to give advantage to some over others. Unfortunately, our government has historically used its force to keep down women and minorities. It would be fair if reparations could somehow be given to those who were discriminated against by government. It is not fair for government to take from innocent people and give to others who were not discriminated against. The best way to go in the future is for government to get out of areas of our lives where it has no business. The proper role of government is to stop the use of force and fraud against those who are honest and peaceful, and to resolve disputes. Fairness is usually subjective and should not be the goal of government. Equality under the law is objective and should be the rule for our government.
  • May 29 2013: "I believe in equity for all women and men in the world. Not equality. Equity is justice, freedom from bias, the opportunity to use your capabilities to their fullest. Equality is sameness. One mold" - Irene Tinker
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    May 28 2013: No, equality is NOT the same thing as fairness. But, if people are NOT equal, people think that isn't fair! But if things are perceived as fair, then the concept/judgment of equality is maintained.

    To paraphrase George Orwell, ". . . some pigs really are more equal than others."

    And that's why I love to eat bacon.
    • Jun 11 2013: The quotation was actually "Some animals are more equal than others" The book ends with the words: "The pigs were men the men were pigs."
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        Jun 11 2013: I stand corrected (in part). I quote from the end of 'Animal Farm' here:

        'Gentlemen,' concluded Napoleon, 'I will give you the same toast as before, but in a different form. Fill your glasses to the brim. Gentlemen, here is my toast: To the prosperity of The Manor Farm!'

        There was the same hearty cheering as before, and the mugs were emptied to the dregs. But as the animals outside gazed at the scene, it seemed to them that some strange thing was happening. What was it that had altered in the faces of the pigs? Clover's old dim eyes flitted from one face to another. Some of them had five chins, some had four, some had three. But what was it that seemed to be melting and changing? Then, the applause having come to an end, the company took up their cards and continued the game that had been interrupted, and the animals crept silently away.

        But they had not gone twenty yards when they stopped short. An uproar of voices was coming from the farmhouse. They rushed back and looked through the window again. Yes, a violent quarrel was in progress. There were shoutings, hangings on the table, sharp suspicious glances, furious denials. The source of the trouble appeared to be that Napoleon and Mr Pilkington had each played an ace of spades simultaneously.

        Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which.

        I looked for your quoted phrase: "The pigs were men the men were pigs." on the Google. I could not find anything there. Good luck to you.
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    May 28 2013: "minorities get a better chance of getting in to college "
    are you a member of a minority race?
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    May 28 2013: People want peace. Differences in beliefs, culture, preferences, etc. do not negate the fact that we are all living in the same house. A house divided... Beware of the power to influence others that the only thing people want is peace.
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    May 28 2013: In my experience i usually put communism and capitalism side by side.
    In communism the basic rule is that every person should do their best and get an equal credit as another person gets for his/her best work. So if some one "cannot" do better he/she won't starve. This kind of thinking serve some people very well. From what i know many religions based their fairness to this kind of thinking.
    In capitalism the basic taught is that, As much as you benefit your community, you will receive credit. So if your are smarter you will receive more. This will serve community better then persons. (and maybe some persons better then other). So this is their kind of fairness. In most developed and developing countries it's what considered as fairness.
    I'm an smart person so i can accept capitalism a little more. But put yourself in a position that you can no longer do as what community asks. Are you deserve to suffer just because you don't have the natural talent that the another has?
    So it's up to you which one to choose.

    I from my stand and perspective the result of equalizing will be a disaster. But that's just an guess.
    I believe every one needs a place to grow. But that place is not the same for everyone. I was a lazy student at school. I didn't do my home work. I liked extra works better then the regulars. So i always got bad grades at school. But in university, I'm that good that any teacher likes/loves me.

    I believe we should personalize educations systems. We reach a good-fair-creator kind of equalizing!
  • May 28 2013: if you mean equal opportunity and best person gets the job, the position, etc. than i am for it.
  • May 27 2013: As a young man I was burned big time and several times by affirmative action. I was the first of a family of 8 children and my parents were just poor kids. I didn't get to go to college until a decade later when my employer paid. But during that decade, if I were a college boy I would have been an officer, my AVP, VP--one of the team. I was as smart as anyone there and every time I got a clerical promotion that had to replace me with two or three other people. I was told the job was hard and bust my neck to live up to it. The I make a move and three people are doing what I did. I felt robbed. Then when supervisory or managerial positions opened up, it was time to show off how affirmative action they were and they went out and hired a woman or a minority who I trained who then went quickly up the latter and looked at me--the person who trained them as a monkey in a cage to be laughed at. It's bogus and wrong and I'm damned sorry some Dutchman took you great, great grandparents fro Africa to America but my family escaped the potato famine and I didn't have anybody in my family own slaves or be rude to blacks. Indeed I had relative who fought for the Union. So if I work my ass off, why should so quota benefit someone who could have had a nice cushy childhood wile I was being assaulted by Catholic clergy? Sorry, Shove it

    As for equality, we are all unique. If nature doesn't make that clear enough in the differences on our appearances, neuroplasticity in our brains give us the edge over racial or ethnic damnation. Education is a big racket--a dysfunctional POS. You an put yourself into debt going to community college and be damn brilliant, then you go for a job and get laughed at next to the guy who went Yale. George W, Bush went to Yale. I could invade the wrong country too. But I have the sense not to. So sick of academic elitism. It's a con. You need sponsor, a mentor, to kiss butt and plenty of money so you don't have to support yourself because you were born poor
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    May 25 2013: What are your thought on elitism?
    Because all situations in this scenario seem very problematic.
    Considering these are the possible solutions I can think of :
    - You have a equal, yet not fair society.
    - You have a fair, yet not equal society.
    - You have neither a fair nor equal society.
    All of these have problems on their own. However this debate comes down to :
    Which is more valuable to you? Equality or fairness?
    However "success" (depending on how you define it) often isn't fair. Considering social and economic climate come into play, and various events you can't control.
    Have you read the Outliers by any chance?

    P.S : How do you (personally) define "Equality" and "Fairness"?
    Does this question have an "objective" answer (in your opinion)?
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      May 28 2013: I think treating someone better because they do better can be okay in certain situations. Sports as an obvious example. The treatment being salary, not actual treatment like being more respectful to someone. Virtually everyone deserves respect and that sort of treatment.

      Fairness is much more valuable to me than equality.

      I haven't read the Outliers. What do they write about?

      I define equality as sameness; consistensy. Fairness I'd define as freeness of discrimination of irrelevant factors (often racial). The main difference is that fairness can use one's economic status for example to treat that individual differently, unlike in equality, in which that person would pay the same as anyone else.

      I tried to make the question to be subjective as good debate questions often are, but in hope of some concrete and objective reasoning mixed in the debating.

      Sorry for the late reply!
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      May 28 2013: Oh Bernie . . .
      . . . if people are NOT equal, people think that isn't fair! But if things are perceived as fair, then the concept/judgment of equality is maintained. There is a cultural issue here that is worth mentioning.

      I have a great deal of respect and affection for all things British. I especially like the Queen. HRH Elizabeth II is a wonderful person. But British Civilization is based upon the value of having an Aristocracy. In the U.S.A. they build great monuments to Jefferson, Lincoln, and Washington. And those guys have their faces on Mount Rushmore. In the U.K. those "great monuments" are the individuals privileged to bear the various titles of Nobility, w/Queen Elizabeth II, the foremost as head of state.

      What's fair or equal about an aristocracy? In the USA, the very notion of an "Aristocracy" has been firmly and finally rejected. The U.S. Constitution makes it illegal for a U.S. Citizen even to receive a "title of nobility" from a foreign power. And people can get VERY angry & all out of sorts if one or another "Citizen" is privileged in some way over others. Yes, we do stop traffic for the POTUS (Obama: President of the United States) but that's only because if his motorcade stops at a traffic light, it creates a security vulnerability. Everyone else (except for law enforcement in the performance of their duties) has to obey the traffic signals. It's equal. And that's only fair.

      Here in the U.S.A., the Queen is viewed as "Just another Celebrity, albeit a celebrity with a remarkable run of celebratory longevity." But she's viewed just as any other Hollywood celebrity might be. She isn't ranked with Obama as "Head of State," that privilege belongs to Prime Minister David Cameron. Most U.S. Americans are blissfully unaware that Queen Elizabeth has any other responsibilities beyond posing for pictures which are then printed on the British Pound and coinage.

      If they knew the truth, THAT wouldn't be fair!
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    May 24 2013: Wow! Enormously difficult question! Thanks!

    Fairness and equality should be unanimously supported, but the hard truth it is often very situation specific. What is fair or equal in one situation may not be in another. Also what is fair or necessary for one individual may be very different for another.

    Unfortunately there are not enough King Solomons in the world to in-part a wise philosophical 'fairness' so it will always be a impossible but essential balancing act. Let's accept first that no one is perfect, we make mistakes, and when we do we must try to learn from them and keep trying to improve. What other alternative is there? To just give up? To just breed perfect clones or computers and let them manage life for us (hopefully this sounds disagreeable to everyone)?

    Someone pointed out to me an image today on this of 3 people trying to watch a Baseball (or any sports) game, each a different height trying to see over a fence. The first is the tallest and can see over anyway, the 2nd is medium height and cannot see over, the 3rd is short and cannot see over. It's certainly something to think about -and not to be ironic- it's still not a 'one-sized' fits all thing because it's still very situational and depends on the topic too.

    Is the fair thing to give all three people the same number of boxes? Is it fair to give the shortest two boxes if one is not enough to see over the fence, even if this means giving the tallest person zero boxes?
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      May 28 2013: Thanks for the comment and I like the children watching baseball example! I think it's often harder to compensate for height differences in the real world. The solution usually isn't as simple as someone giving an extra box to another. With the college example, I'm still trying to think of a more fair way to achieve "justice" without using ethnicity quotas or something like that.
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      May 28 2013: Read the caption on the cartoon you reference. The issue is not equality vs fairness. The issue is JUSTICE. The concept of equality under the law has to do with equal access to the courts, and an impartial, equitable, deliberative procedure with which to settle disputes under law. This is especially important when it comes to the Criminal Justice system. Under the Common Law, it is the State (or "The People") who prosecute crimes. The accused has additional safeguards under law, in that the loss of liberty is at stake. And everyone agrees it isn't right to just go stick someone in prison who is, in fact, innocent of committing any crime.

      In the eyes of the LAW, no one is privileged over any other in terms of equal access to justice or equal treatment under the law. And the outcome of any judicial proceeding must be perceived as fair. The idea is that nobody gets a pass or a free-ride on any legal issue in contention. In the case of a criminal defendant, the situation is a bit different, because the state will PAY for a criminal defendant to have a lawyer. And there are other safeguards. Here, the concept of FAIRNESS is chosen over EQUALITY. And this is a very good illustrative example of what we (hopefully) are talking about here!
    • Jun 11 2013: You cannot make people equal in their ability to function although you can educate them so that they can exploit their individual talents. So not everybody is exactly the same and it is equality of opportunity that should be made equal, even if its different betwee the well educated people, who will respond in various useful ways.
  • May 24 2013: Blade: You raise a lot of interesting points. Just like everyone else, I also dislike giving people an unnecessary "free ride", but I don't include crippled people . Even animals show this instinct. That raises the whole question of just what is creativity and productivity anyway, and how do you recognize it? Tesla was incredibly productive, but he died in obscure poverty., just one of many. The Wall St. inventors of "Derivatives" have created billions (on paper), but would you defend such "Creativity", just because the perpetrators have bribed enough people to evade jail? And their success depended , among other things, on the taxpayers saving them from bankruptcy. Good for them, I say, Ayn Rand-wise, but seriously damaging to everyone else. Did they not create the whole Real Estate Bubble by this means, which seriously damaged the US middle class? And by the way, the same process of "Creativity" is leading to M.C. extinction. I can perfectly understand your fear that the future involves lots of murder; we peasants seem to have little other option, although we are all keeping up the pretense, for the time being, as long as the taxpayers have anything left. (If you notice, the "taxpayers" are mostly middle class, since the "Productive" class has all kinds of ways of evading them)
  • May 24 2013: Kai Demandante 0
    35 minutes ago: Theory of Knowledge. IB Diploma Years

    You challenge--I'm guessing, because you offer nothing of value, other than IB diploma years, I'm guessing in defense of Ben and Blade and others. Is that supposed to be worth something? If you're trying to defend their honor, ya got a long way ta go, because like you, they can't defend their challenges. I can't even say yours is a challenge, because its so vague.

    I'm looking for someone that can actually debate science. Too bad teaching in this country caters to copy and paste and none here can offer intelligent debate, unless,--- you think you can. I've searched for years online and not found one person that can get past their original copy and paste of a subject.

    No one can fault you, its just the way things are. The school system teaches cubicle smarts and nothing more. Don't make challenges you can't keep.
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      May 24 2013: I was commenting on your comment where you said 'no one teaches you how to think' or something like that. And in TOK we debate all the time. Please give us some topic to debate instead of simply saying everyone sucks at debating while you offer no evidence that we do or that you are a good debater.
      • May 24 2013: Lets debate gravitational lensing, please. What is the TOK, please? Can you defend gravitational lensing or at least play the devils advocate, if you don't believe it is correct? Have you debated it before and do you believe such?
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          May 24 2013: Curious............and the point to doing that would be?

          To stroke ones/sombodies ego perchance ?

          And then, next, maybe we could debate how many angels will fit on the head of a pin??
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          May 24 2013: TOK is Theory of Knowledge. Seems gravitation lensing isn't much of a debate. It's been observed, and the General Theory of Relativity predicts that it happens. Science is much harder to actually debate, since it's objective and often empirically proven. That's why debates are mainly on more vague and broad ideas and human nature, which are very subjective.

          Also, let's not do any more of this debating on this conversation unless it actually pertains to this conversation. I'm sorry for encouraging this by responding to your comments.
      • May 24 2013: I knew virtually nothing of gravitational lensing about a year ago. I was challenged on the subject and like everything else I don't know, I read and read and look for all the things that are not spoken of and then I look up all those things.

        It is never about just what is said, but just as much, what is not said.
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          May 29 2013: I'd rather debate the Holocaust and Mr. Ryan's opinion on the Justice or Injustice of Genocide. Was the Holocaust undertaken to ensure that things developed in Nazi Germany in a way that was MORE fair and Equal to all the non-Jewish Germans?

          And how did killing six million Jews make ANYTHING better in Germany or anywhere else for that matter?
      • May 24 2013: Lol, that's quite some debating style there Kai.
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      May 24 2013: Well Jim, I don't recall giving you a 'challenge', as I recall, I asked you a/some questions and for you to re-brand them as 'challenges' or regarding my questions as 'challenges', I suggest is a insecure misguided assumption on your behalf.

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      May 24 2013: So Jim Ryan if this is your fetish.......................'I'm looking for someone that can actually debate science.'

      Begs the question: Why are you on this forum?

      Suggest you have lost your way somewhat and should be seeking your solace on a Science discussion forum.

      • May 25 2013: Y'all have more excuses for not debating, than morris the cat and his 9 lives. Y'all can only hate learning and love your pride, than admitting you don't have a clue and don't want one. That's what people with a copy and past schooling have to offer.

        First, go cry on your mommies shoulders and then go tell Ted. Ted will protect you from your copy and paste education.

        Gauleee,---shazaam, there are many threads on Ted, about science. Imagine that!!!
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    May 24 2013: Hi Jim Ryan....firstly.........being a new kid on the block I've also noticed the 'reply' format is limiting compared to some other forums that incorporate a quote option which I find keeps the flow and order of the topic and participants more 'orderly'...but hey that's just my 2cents worth on that point.

    Anyways I digress.........back to your, and I quote...............

    ' To answer you, without equality and fairness, those that profit from such must dumb down not only others kids, but their own as well. IE: I can't find anyone here on Ted that can press my mind, hence the world looses out greatly.

    I have no probs with inequality and unfairness, its the way of the world, always has been and I suggest always will be and I suggest that those who believe trying to make all fair and equal are the ones trying to 'dumb down' humans and stifle one and all into mediocrity where creativity and thinking outside of the box will be legislated and require a commissars permit and another permit to disallow taking ones prescribed daily dosage of soma while ones mind is outside of the box.

    And re your: "You challenge me, now I challenge you."

    Lets start with a question to this.........................

    quote: 'hence the world looses out greatly.'

    Can you provide us with a 2nd opinion/validation on that opinion/brag besides your own? :)

    • May 24 2013: Lol, sure. Would you say you can read and comprehend the English language easy enough? If so, do you think you can understand sciences written words or do they intimidate you?

      Bragging is for children, I'm searching for anyone that can push my mind. Can you point to anyone here that has done such? I have challenged all in the Ted staff and any here. I feel alone on this planet. I find no one that I can relate too. I haven't given up.

      If I don't challenge, I may never find anyone to push my mind.
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        May 24 2013: English............suggest I am competent for my requirements,survival and the journeys in life I undertake.

        As for sciences written words...............suggest anyone can read the words on the page, suggest 'understanding' is dependent on ones learning thereof and what 'subjects/degrees/depths' of scientific knowledge one has acquired based on one intellectual capacity.

        Suggest I have certain intellectual capacity to understand certain sciences to some degree and some not.

        But then it depends on the situation as to who is grasshopper and who is master when the rocket scientist finds he has a blocked toilet. :)

        And regarding your question ........' I'm searching for anyone that can push my mind. Can you point to anyone here that has done such?'

        Suggest being the new kid on the block (few days) I am still finding my way around this definitely not the Thunder Dome and do not have sufficient insight to put a rational opinion on the table.

        Well 'Stranger in a strange land'............. maybe you could enlighten me some by entailing in what capacity you want to relate and on what matters?

        And when you say 'push my mind' it amounts to ????
        • May 24 2013: Push my mind, means, to make me go looking for answers, to make me think, to challenge me and best me. Nothing challenges like losing.
    • May 24 2013: I didn't get an email about your post, I stumbled onto it. Didn't you want me to see it?
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        May 24 2013: ?????? Non comprende if your referring to me?
    • May 24 2013: Point to one person here or anywhere in science, that can defend gravitational lensing, gravity or light theory. All are ignorant as science lays out today.
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        May 24 2013: Suggest that kinda begs many questions and these could openers.

        Does anybody besides you give squat thereto?

        Should anybody give squat thereto and why so?

        Why aren't you asking the question on the ' gravitational lensing, gravity or light theory' defenders site?

        • May 24 2013: Lol, yea, no one gives a squat, especially when they aren't smart enough to debate the subject.
  • May 23 2013: Blade: The key point is that Wall St. believes that society does not need any "equality", no matter if the Competitiveness become lethal for the whole group, including themselves. Ayn Rand style. I fail to see much difference between them and the Ancien Regime in France. What is really decadent is that so many of them, depairing of coming up with anything "creative", seem satisfied with mere law breaking , or just close enough to it to stay out of jail. It i simply not sustainable, as they themselves frequently know.
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      May 24 2013: I also believe that society does not need 'equality', as equality I suggest gives the non productive a free ride and besides, nobody is equal to anybody else or anything besides maybe under the heading of being human but again that is also subjective to the definition of human and accordingly I would tender some don't qualify for that status.:)

      Curious............when you say: 'no matter if the Competitiveness become lethal for the whole group, including themselves.' t give us a specific scenario of such an event materializing?

      And when you say 'Ayn Rand style' I am further curious because my understanding of Ayn Rand's philosophy was that it promoted the betterment of oneself together with the encouragement to be creative.

      And lets be brutally honest and objective here...............the last time I had looked, Wall Street had come up with some of the most creative accounting spiels and money making schemes devised in the history of mankind.:) :)

      As for anything being 'sustainable' or your history, Empires rise and fall, come and go and as some have said...................... 'Its the journey that counts, not the destination!'

      So find yourself a ride you are happy with, because quoting Leonard..............'I have seen the future and its murder!'

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    May 23 2013: Fair is defined by convention. Equal is an absolute state.

    You cannot link "fair" and "equal" as they aren't related. Fair is not always indicative of equality. However, equal is equal is equal.

    Is it feasible? Sure...if we can remove biased opinion from our thought processes. Some of us still hate homosexuals and believe every African American walking the earth is ignorant. We are far from equality.

    Scholarships for minorities really have more to do with the resources their parents have. A child going into college today is still impacted by socioeconomic factors from decades ago. It may not be present today. However, since those variables had impacts on prior generations we can ultimately conclude it will have impacts on newer generations.

    A family destroyed by drugs, racism, or other biased treatment can harm generations of children afterwards. Slavery, abolished long ago, still has impacts on generations of children today. Bad parenting has deep impacts over long periods of time and can consume multiple generations of people.

    We cannot bring a race of people to the starting line late in the race...say go...and assert that they were given a fair shot.
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    May 23 2013: College entrance and scholarships have always been awarded unfairly. If you belong to the minority that is rich, that got good grades, whose parents had a houseful of books etc. You might say these categories of students are better suited to college which should be academic, that is dubious, today, when it really means a chance of a living wage. And any bright, well heeled, non minority, whatever that means, has access to a good college education. Many "minorities" the ones you mean, don't. And I think, in a culture, where the average CEO is paid 9.6 million (hot off the press this morning) and the average household between thirty and forty thousand there is no real equality, is there? Equality of opportunity I hear someone say, well opportunities multiply when you belong to the affluent educated class and are much more easily accessed. There is a way of course, to create some semblance of equality: wages. But then apparently we de-motivate the "best and the brightest." I suppose they would mope around in their Ivory towers weeping in frustration. So the long and the short, our system and mores have nothing to do with equality, at all. Quite the opposite. The assumption is that we are compelled to "do better than" the Joneses and our parents. Be better than. I would challenge the assumption but we should start the discussion with an honest set of tenets. Not myths.
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    May 23 2013: :-)
    I think you have answered the question yourself: fairness and equality are not the same.

    But to be complete: fairness of what? equality of what?
    If you have multiple equations and want all parameters to be equal... that is often not possible. (I don't know if "fair" is a mathematical concept, so I'll end the metaphor)

    You refer to equality of getting into college...
    If you look at different statistics, you realize there are correlations with gender, socio-economic status, the number of books your parrents own, the language you were raised in, your intelligence,...

    I don't think we should achieve a "good range of variation" where we allow for a bit of inequality and unfairness, but reduce the inequality and unfairness wherever we think is needed.

    i think that in most cases, a utilitarian equation can help us solve some concrete problems of conflicting (in)equalities
  • May 23 2013: Blade: But the smarter animals, like lions, cooperate in their "competition"
    for food, rather than impoverishing each other.
    I was well aware of Orwell's work, and admire him. But his perceptions about the corruptibility of some people does not stop with "Socialism". It applies to Walll St. as well as Communist"Leaders".
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      May 23 2013: Shawn..........the lions may 'cooperate' but they still have a hierarchy of inequality and to be the 'head lion' you have to compete/fight for the position and there is always a looser/s.

      Suggest most people/societies have a degree of cooperation otherwise anarchy is the order of the day.

      For me Orwell's perceptions of social/societal structures/regimes is just a written confirmation of what any student of human nature has already observed and yes Orwell's observation don't only apply to the hypocrisies of socialism but then the last time I looked, Wall street has never claimed they were a bastion/upholder/champion of personal or social equality. :)
  • May 23 2013: i think you are absolutely right. giving someone or some group an unequal opportunity is unfair. not only does it belittle the quality of work of those who can't be chosen because someone is chosen instead, but it degrades the quality of work of the person who is given the helping hand by giving it undue value. a person who doesn't learn to reach the highest standard because they never have to - always having a lower standard accepted - will never excel.

    getting more minorities into college is a psuedo-goal. what the goal should be is helping minorities reach such a high level that they will naturally be chosen for more university courses based on the high quality of their work. as an analogy, in my own case i've gotten pretty out of shape and would never win a 100 metre sprint. to help me you'd better help me get in shape, not give me a head start, because that will do nothing for my future performance.
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      May 23 2013: Yep.....Kind of like giving a women a 'position' because she is a woman and not because she has/is better qualified, but because the lame politically correct equal opportunity regs require that a certain number of positions require to be filled by women.
      • May 23 2013: that's a great example. rather than let women choose to do what they want to do and accept if it's different from what men what to do, we give them incentive to balance scales that aren't even necessary, and in doing so we ensure women never reach the peak of their ability because they're gladly welcomed in before reaching it.
  • May 23 2013: It's too bad most people will never understand the dynamics of equality and the truth. Most people can't think past copy and paste, because equality and the truth don't matter, as most here prove.
    • May 23 2013: so please explain what the dynamics of equality and the truth are?
      • May 23 2013: Its like how you make things up because you're lazy and you have chosen to stay that way. That's one form. People giving away things, want things in return. I look for someone that can push my mind, but haven't found them yet.
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          May 23 2013: Suggest that far from answers Ben Jarvis's question.
        • May 23 2013: jim it's pretty hard to have a conversation with you when you seem to like keeping your points secret rather than just making them. try explaining what's on your mind and you'll find that there are people all around who can push you.

          please explain what the dynamics of equality and the truth are?
      • May 23 2013: Take the challenge!

        4 hours ago: There was no reply button on your post to me, about Ben Jarvis, so I came here. To answer you, without equality and fairness, those that profit from such must dumb down not only others kids, but their own as well. IE: I can't find anyone here on Ted that can press my mind, hence the world looses out greatly.

        You challenge, I challenge.
        • May 23 2013: yep that's how everyone replies with this system.

          those that profit from such what? how do they profit? how does that mean they must dumb down?

          if your idea has merit, explain it. if you can't, it's not an idea and you're just wasting people's time.
      • May 24 2013: Basically, all children through college are taught copy and paste. They are not taught to think for themselves. If that's wrong, show one school that teaches how to think for oneself.
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          May 24 2013: Theory of Knowledge. IB Diploma Years Program.
        • May 24 2013: what's that got to do with the dynamics of equality and the truth?

          i asked you to explain days ago and you've made many replies but avoided explaining your claim.
      • May 24 2013: Jim Ryan 0Edit Delete
        30 minutes ago: You said the following. Where did you read it?
        "nasa didn't put standard mirrors on the moon, they put very special ones that only reflect a single photon."

        You made that up.
        • May 24 2013: i didn't make that up, i got that from the site you posted yourself!
      • May 24 2013: Shall I go on with more that you made up out of thin air, with nothing to back it up?
        • May 24 2013: yes please do.

          it might help to reply on the right thread too. this is about fairness and equality, you're i think referring to the facts in science discussion on another page.
  • May 23 2013: "Equality" is far too murky and self-contradictory an idea to be anything more than a rule of thumb ,a social goal of sorts. Also, It is not found in nature, therefore is a human artifact, subject to the usual approval or disapproval of the "Tribe". It is more of a occasion for creating disputes than anything useful. One reason the Chinese are not all Christians now , historically , was the Christian Missionaries fanatic insistence that Jesus requires that we love everyone equally. The Confuscian mindset finds that ridiculous, and not even desirable.
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    May 22 2013: Ponder...................
    Suggest equality is a misguided fantasy and anybody who thinks equality can be legislated is a fool to boot!
    George hit the nail on the head when he wrote... ' "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
    Likewise fairness......... Life isn't fair, never has been, never will be!
    Life is all about survival, which in-turn entails competing for survival and those that achieve the 'most-est' are those with a superior/better whatever as apposed to the failures.
    Not everybody is rocket scientist material!
    As for the socialistic agendas of 'rigging' the school systems by everybody being given a pass mark so that nobody needs counseling for feeling a failure (which btw is exactly what some folk are..........failures), generates a system of where the highest achievement to strive for is mediocrity!
    Good luck with that one folks.
    We live in a competitive achievement rewarding world and competitiveness and achievement are the epitome of inequality and might I suggest the driving force that took us out of the cave and has been the cornerstone of human evolution on this planet.
    • May 23 2013: Blade: "Competitiveness " has had a good run in the West, but it seems clear enough that it is so far from the nature of animals, to say nothing of Humans, that we seem to be in the middle of its complete breakdown. The reason being that all these ultra competitive types have figured out how to evade competitiveness for themselves, but not allowed for the hoi-polloi, As someone already said, what we have now is Socialism for the Rich, and "Free"Competition for everyone else. As the Elephant said as he danced among the Ants.
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        May 23 2013: Shawn: Suggest animals are competitive..............animals compete for their food to survive.

        And btw when I said ..."George hit the nail on the head when he wrote... ' "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." I think you missed my point in that I was referring to George Orwell's book called Animal Farm which shows up the hypocrisy on the equality of Communism/Socialism.
        • May 23 2013: There was no reply button on your post to me, about Ben Jarvis, so I came here. To answer you, without equality and fairness, those that profit from such must dumb down not only others kids, but their own as well. IE: I can't find anyone here on Ted that can press my mind, hence the world looses out greatly.

          You challenge me, now I challenge you.
        • May 23 2013: How does the book show such hypocrisy?
  • May 21 2013: Humans are obsessed with fairness because it has an evolutionary component. they have done many experiments in behavioral economics on both chimps and humans that have confirmed the fairness bias. I believe in absolute equality under the law, however i am aware that people and societies the way they are naturally inclined will deviate from absolute equality everywhere.
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    May 21 2013:

    There are the two cases and it specifically shows that the USG CAN and did act against both schools for its discriminatory acts. I am only citing these as examples of ways in which legislative and judicial action can not only define a norm but also defend it.
  • May 21 2013: In some situations this bias is worthy for a short term gain but never a permenate bias as the net effect is dependence on the system.

    On the other hand in some situations there should not be bias no matter what. For example: I need to lift 45lbs to do a lifesaving task for my job. Yet one group only has to lift 25lbs. When the life saving situation occures the biased group can't perform the task.
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    May 21 2013: Equality is probably feasible but mostly not worth achieving. For "Equality", read "Dumbing Down" of diversity. Diversity makes the world interesting, full of vitality and healthy. Diversity makes us intelligent and creative.

    Equality is not synonymous with fairness. However, diversity with fairness, understanding and respect is far better than the mushy, deadly boring contrivances of 'sameness'.
  • May 21 2013: Man and women aren’t equal and will never be. It’s not about being equal but about threating each other equally.

    Before the mountaineer was able to reach the highest point, he had to go uphill and downhill for many times. Whenever he went uphill he had to endure hardness. But he kept going. When he got to the top of a hill he showed a big smile on his face. Now, he was able to go downhill without using much energy and he quickly entered the valley. He took a sip of water and sat down, then he stood up and took a deep breath.

    He opened his bag, grabbed a piece of paper and wrote:

    Dear people,

    Going downwards is as hard as going upwards. Do not fool yourself by completely enjoying the easy part of the hill. On your way to the top of the mountain you will climb a lot of hills. And every single hill has two sides, the easy-side and the hard one. Realize that the easy-side would not exist without the hard one and vice versa. You can’t equalize them, so threat them equally. The set of hills is as ‘time’, given to you to to prepare yourself for the most beautifull place ever. Where the unification of easiness and hardness is well-praised and delivers the most astonishing view from the highest point on earth.

    Man and women aren’t equal and will never be. It’s not about being equal,but about threating each other equally.


    The mountaineer.
  • May 21 2013: When it comes to equality, chances of it working are very slim in my opinion, especially with income and skill equality. This is because, equality in my opinion leads to unfairness, because as someone personally tries to better themselves (get a new skill, etc.) it would be unfair then if the playing field was levelled as then the individuals do not get a sense of satisfaction and with that, I feel that it could lead to negative effects, such as dumbing down because no-one cannot be bothered to increase their "ableness" in their abilities or learn new skills which then would build self-worth.
    Also, equality is not a concept we can give a certain scale to, therefore, we can ask ourselves, to what extent is equality, what does equality look like in action? If we cannot answer this question, then how can we achieve equality? We always have to design the product before we can take the necessary steps to manufacture it or make it into reality.
    • May 23 2013: The whole discussion about Equality is muddied up by the assumption that "Groups" , whether families, ethnicities or whatever have no real existence, or importance in the world . The facts are that groups are cooperative, social and people like it that way, where individual differences can be not only entertaining, but have "Survival Value " for the group, as long as their actions do not damage the group seriously. But that is just where we are right now: the "Smartest People in the Room" have trashed the world economy for their own benefit, clever as they are, without apparently noticiing that their activities are cutting out the ground beneath their feet.. (I mean , if too many people are impoverished, where are the customers going to come from?! "Overseas" is not an unlimited resource ).
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    May 21 2013: Depends greatly how you define "equality".
    Considering we all different genes, and personalities.
    Then things can't really be equal.
  • May 20 2013: Equality is equal given opportunities and choices. Because people don't choose the same things everything isn't considered fair.
  • May 20 2013: Fairness and equality are not the same thing. You can be fair and you can be equal, sometimes at the same time, but they can be separate from each other.

    To strive for a "fair and equal"" culture is not a true reality. Even in a culture, set up to be fair and/or equal, you will have inequalities and "unfairness". As "fairness" and "equality" are often more a determination of the people who are on the receiving end of it.

    If we are truly going to be "fair" or "equal" then we need to bring the low up and high down right? We need to put everyone on a level playing field which is not possible due to human nature. It is good to strive for it, but it is not necessary to get completely there.
  • May 19 2013: Positive discrimination is often carefully controlled so that disadvantaged candidates are not unfairly excluded. Generally, statistical analysis will identify particular areas where minority candidates consistently fail to pass the admissions/qualification barrier. Having identified this group failure barrier it would be correct to assert that such barrier was discriminatory towards the excluded group and so the pass mark/assessment criteria might be adjusted accordingly. The unintended result of this is that the playing field would appear to be no longer level - but again there are usually fail safe provisions to catch other candidates who might suffer from the same type of disadvantage e.g. being poor.
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    May 19 2013: No to both. I think you are mistaking equitable as equal.
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    May 19 2013: By my definition , equality is not synonymous to fairness.
    In many instances in-equal treatment is fair......say if the goal is to reward performance in-equal treatment to different level of performer is fair.

    Important is in what perspective what one wants to achieve.
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    May 19 2013: We profess equality to be fair . To be fair to the people who are at a disavantage.

    People in an advantageous position must understand this.
    • May 19 2013: The rich make laws for the rich. Only the rich are lawmakers.
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        May 19 2013: Have a heart...The poor will inherit the earth
        • May 19 2013: Lol, so tell us Adesh, do you think America stands for justice?
        • May 19 2013: Ah, you are afraid for your position. That's what stops most from speaking out.

          If the hard working poor ran congress instead of the rich, how do you think they would arrange healthcare? Would they say that everyone pays according to what they make and would they allow profit to be made from suffering?

          The more a person suffers under a totally corrupt gov, controlled by a corporatocracy, the more a person has a chance to understand.
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        May 19 2013: Jim Hi, history tells us every super power, every world leading nation, or every empire has always looked after its own interest.

        Honesty does not depend on how much money you own. But some do believe that no body can be rich with total honesty.
        • May 19 2013: Today's ruling empire is corporatocracy. They bribed the leading heads of most all gov's and in so doing, they look after only the ones in power, that protect them from their theft.

          As these huge corporations buy up or run out of business the smaller businesses and corporations, they create ever larger monopolies, catering to just those in the upper classes and as each nations upper classes expand, those monopolies will exclude all those below, until voting is just the formality of a bygone conclusion. Its pretty much there in America, as all we vote on are the next set of crooks.

          With time, the upper classes will get smaller and smaller so that many of you that can and should speak out, will be the next to suffer the ax. They will richly deserve it.
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        May 20 2013: I agree with you Ryan. This is not the democracy we are taught and told.

        What's the alternative ?
        should we wait for Birth of a New Philosophy?
        • May 20 2013: Almost none will speak up and out, meaning it has not gotten bad enough or they are too afraid, also meaning it has not gotten bad enough. For myself and a few like myself and our children, we have been stolen from and oppressed so badly for an entire 40 plus years, that a few of us dare speak out, even when our lives have been threatened, to no avail.

          It seems we will have to wait until it gets to be as bad for the majority. Since America has been flooded with cameras, its likely to take even more suffering before people dare act out with all the cameras watching and the gov knew this and had all these cameras installed just for that reason.
      • May 21 2013: so welfare policies are laws for the rich? Taxation and Obama-care are laws for the rich? How do you come up with these ridiculous ideas? Politics and ideologies are the driving force behind legislation along with percieved necessity.
        • May 21 2013: If congress were run by the hardest working poor, would you think they would make healthcare beyond anyone's capabilities? Would they allow profit to be made from the system and those suffering?

          Would the hardest working take bribes so that the bribers could raise each rate so as to create so much suffering, by the laws they make?

          Would the hardest working allow a stock market to act as huge taxes through stockpiling, conspiracies and whatever favors the rich, by the rich lawmakers-- uh I mean, thieves.

          The US congress was bribed way back in 1970 to stop OSHA, the IRS, workers comp and more, from protecting 17 year old boys from the theft committed by one entire industries contractors. Because congress was fully bribed, no one knew that the industry would purposely cheat the general public and even bribe the at+t yellow pages CEO, to hide that industries competition, from the general public.

          The more oppression one lives under, can lead to understanding so much more. Most people never know how naive they really are.
      • May 21 2013: wow.. i think your too emotional to try an argue some perspective on this topic. Are anit-trust laws and labor laws such as minimum wage, workers comp, etc. benifitting rich people or protecting the average worker? Do you think money corrupts government more really?.. or do you think its ideology? I think if you had perspective on the amount of laws and the nature of existing laws in the United States you would see that politics more so than just money are at the root of much of the legislation. Your right to an extent im not saying your totally wrong im just saying theres a whole lot of gray area your choosing to ignore. Much legislation hurts corporate interests and either benefits the average man or benefits some specials interest of belief.
        • May 21 2013: Which in congress are poor, the repubs? The dems? The do for votes and bribes. That causes everyone else with any power, to do the same for themselves.

          Can you show how that's wrong?
        • May 21 2013: You talk like a would be politician, that grew up sheltered from so much. Tell us of the poor companies.
        • May 21 2013: Tell us of tax breaks for small business. Lets see what you know.
        • May 21 2013: You never answered my questions about the hardest working poor and weather they would allow profit to be made from suffering and healthcare. You didn't answer a lot more that I wrote.

          Go do your one sided debates with others, I'm not interested.
      • May 21 2013: Again we need some common ground to be able to communicate. i feel your way to emotional and dont have enough context to grasp the many faces of truth. Ask me a question that is easily answerable? what do you want to know, specifically? Dems and republicans are both rich, at least the politicians are but whats your point? Who funds the campaigns; well both entities that have financial interests and entities that have ideological interests. What are you asking me?
      • May 21 2013: "You never answered my questions about the hardest working poor and weather they would allow profit to be made from suffering and healthcare. You didn't answer a lot more that I wrote."

        i didnt answer it because i dont know what your saying.. you have to be specific.. what you asked didnt make any sense to me.
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    May 19 2013: .

    Equality is feasible and worth achieving.
    Achieving equality is our instinct and
    makes us bio-evolve possible.
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    May 19 2013: Equality and fairness are very perplexing to me. Equality of what?

    Opportunities? Opportunities are a matter of chance. All lottery players have an equal opportunity to win the jackpot. It does not mean that all of them will win. And not everyone even has a chance to buy a ticket.

    Outcomes? Shall all lottery players win the same amount? That, of course, will be less than the ticket price. And also, those who bought more tickets (spent more effort) will win the same amount as those who bought just one ticket (spent little or no effort). Fair? What's the point of the game then?

    Is it fair to give some lottery players a better chance to win because they could not participate in the lottery in the past? So what? How is that fair to the rest of the players? Just let them participate now on general rules. I like the bumper sticker "Equal rights are not special rights". "Special treatment" of minorities seems to emphasize the inequality instead of eliminating it - that's just my opinion.

    I prefer not to speculate on "what's fair". Everyone is entitled to one's own opinion. That's, perhaps, is the only entitlement I recognize.
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    May 19 2013: Equality is a specious goal and pursuing it has unintended consequences typically to the exact reverse of the stated purpose.

    One example of many would be minimum wage laws that were intended to keep business from exploiting workers. The unintended consequence is that the business owners couldn't afford the higher wages for an unskilled worker so they simply do without, offshore, or automate. Before minimum wage laws were implemented black unemployment was slightly lower than white unemployment and that changed to the detriment of black employment ever since.

    Another one would be that the Asian students do better than the white students, so where is affirmative action for white students?

    It has gotten to the point that the culture does not condone any sort of viewpoint regarding race which make us rather moronic on the subject and easy prey for politicians that need a straw man that they are best suited to fight for us.

    There are a ton of fallacies on this subject do a search on this if you are interested.

    BTW the reason for the high cost of education is because of government involvement. The same way that they wanted everyone to have a house. This raises the money available for education. When ever you have too many dollars chasing too few goods and services the price goes up. All the while teachers spewing "you have to go to college". Never mind that they are encouraging kids to get unmarketable degrees.

    The best thing to do is reduce the government overreach in education and reduce their lunacy in the work place.

    Student learn best at their own pace which is why online education makes so much sense and get rid of the book printing while you are at it, etc, etc.

    One final thought a person is responsible for his own education. The people with an agenda would have you believe other wise but it just is not so.
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    May 19 2013: women have always been the majority population but were vastly underrepresented in all places, other than the home. They entered the workplace during WWII when men were in short supply and it was not until the social unrest of the 60's did women really begin to fight for their rights. The Supreme Court upheld Roe v. Wade and there were many legislative actions taken to equalize women's rights. These women created a tidal wave which has now led to women being the majority in most universities and colleges in the USA. It is very difficult to separate the legal and legislative battles fought by women in the past with the advancements women now experience. So I woud argue that it was far from inevitable and that present numbers simply represent the actual sex ratio of the population in the USA.

    I can also argue this from an economic perspective which is how I did pursue this argument in my Master's Thesis.
  • May 18 2013: If this is a ethics question yes if you mean are laws no unless you can prove it.