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Thread: Do you believe in equality?

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    Elite member edao's Avatar
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    Do you believe in equality?

    Do you believe in the concept of equality in human society?

    I would argue no. The fundamental reason being for humans to exist in a truly equal society we would cease to be human.

    As soon as we create definition we create value.

    As soon as you create value you create hierarchy.

    With hierarchy you loose equality, so to regain equality you would have to remove the value, and humans cannot operate in a world without value.


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    All humans are Equal and basically want the same things.

    But when it comes to Society then it’s another ball game. Even if you have just 2 humans you can’t have an equal interaction. I thinks it’s just the way we are built its our basic nature programming. We are flock animals and will always have a hierarchal structure…

    Who know maybe we will evolve out of this. But we are still ruled by our primal brains sadly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aconform View Post
    But when it comes to Society then it’s another ball game. Even if you have just 2 humans you can’t have an equal interaction. I thinks it’s just the way we are built its our basic nature programming. We are flock animals and will always have a hierarchal structure…

    Who know maybe we will evolve out of this. But we are still ruled by our primal brains sadly.
    I agree, for true equality humans by nature would have to change.
    Perhaps genetic engineering will see a rapid change in how we define ourselves?

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    Equality and freedom?

    I don't think the two are compatible. To ensure equality you need to create conditions, but creating those condition you infringe on freedoms.

    We have all seen what happened with Free Market Capatalism.

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    Equality as something desirable from a political philosophy standpoint has changed meanings over time. We see a similar shift with the terms right and justice. Equality used to principally refer to equal rights (old sense of rights), or equality before the law. I think that is wholly desirable and wholly consistent with freedom and human value. Today, it has shifted to include other forms of equality, such as income equality and labor equality. These suffer from the difficulties you mention, including requiring an infringement on freedom to maintain.

    The question then becomes: what's the right balance? I doubt many will say that there is no trade-off, so we need to find the right medium. I prefer to err on the side of freedom myself, although I am fully willing to admit that doing so can cause inequality (modern sense) to rise. I think that one thing that can get lost is that inequality (modern sense) can produce positive things, like niches that only certain types of people can fill, that end up being good for everybody. For example, investment stagnates when there are no rich people.

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    I believe in equality of opportunities, not equality of people.

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    I think the best we can hope for is equality of race, opportunities, equality under the law and the basic right of free choice for all.

    But in the construct of society, even if there is no formal class structure and hierachy, people will ever create their own particular pecking orders, there will always be someone who is wealthier or better educated or more intelligent or more artistic or more beautiful or just more bossy and controlling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    Equality as something desirable from a political philosophy standpoint has changed meanings over time. We see a similar shift with the terms right and justice. Equality used to principally refer to equal rights (old sense of rights), or equality before the law. I think that is wholly desirable and wholly consistent with freedom and human value. Today, it has shifted to include other forms of equality, such as income equality and labor equality. These suffer from the difficulties you mention, including requiring an infringement on freedom to maintain.

    The question then becomes: what's the right balance? I doubt many will say that there is no trade-off, so we need to find the right medium. I prefer to err on the side of freedom myself, although I am fully willing to admit that doing so can cause inequality (modern sense) to rise. I think that one thing that can get lost is that inequality (modern sense) can produce positive things, like niches that only certain types of people can fill, that end up being good for everybody. For example, investment stagnates when there are no rich people.
    Well said!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilhelm View Post
    I believe in equality of opportunities, not equality of people.
    I think you have hit the nail on the head.

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    Equality is a theoretical mathematical concept. It cannot be used to compare complex biochemical entities like life beings.
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    aimless wanderer Mzungu mchagga's Avatar
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    This question reminds me of John Rawls with his work 'A Theory of Justice'. He came up with the two principles:

    'each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive scheme of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar scheme of liberties for others'

    and

    'Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that:
    a) they are to be of the greatest benefit to the least-advantaged members of society (the difference principle).
    b) offices and positions must be open to everyone under conditions of fair equality of opportunity'

    In other words: people are not created equal by nature! And if we come up with standard opportunities and laws which apply to everyone, then there will always be people in advantage or in disadvantage. So in order to overcome this gap, but still keep people in responsibility for their own lifes, opportunities and laws have to be modified to the degree of fair equality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mzungu mchagga View Post
    This question reminds me of John Rawls with his work 'A Theory of Justice'. He came up with the two principles:

    'each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive scheme of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar scheme of liberties for others'

    and

    'Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that:
    a) they are to be of the greatest benefit to the least-advantaged members of society (the difference principle).
    b) offices and positions must be open to everyone under conditions of fair equality of opportunity'

    In other words: people are not created equal by nature! And if we come up with standard opportunities and laws which apply to everyone, then there will always be people in advantage or in disadvantage. So in order to overcome this gap, but still keep people in responsibility for their own lifes, opportunities and laws have to be modified to the degree of fair equality.
    Rawls very much helped with the shift in meanings of terms in political philosophy that I mentioned, especially in shifting the meaning of the term justice. It's always seemed like an unfair co-opting to me that confuses things. We're all for rights, equality, and justice, right? So, he uses those terms to mean things that support what he believes the goals of government and society should be, even when those goals have more appropriate terms that could be used. For example, "rights"="entitlements," "justice"="appropriate distribution," and "equality"="equal distribution."

    Then, we can fairly assess what Rawls is calling for. Basically, he is calling for a more equal distribution of things (goods and jobs mainly), which suffers from the problems discussed earlier (conflict with freedom and failure to taken advantage of certain niches). Again, it comes down to what balance we want to strike. I think his difference principle strikes the wrong balance.

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    aimless wanderer Mzungu mchagga's Avatar
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    I'm not sure whether I fully understood what you mean.
    Equal distribution and appropriate distribution contradict themselves. As far as I understood, Rawls was talking about appropriate distribution only, not equal distribution. He did mention social and economic inequalities as part of society. But that they have to be so arranged that this imbalance is justified (= justice), that even the least-advantaged member can benefit from it in the end.
    I hope I didn't get you wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mzungu mchagga View Post
    I'm not sure whether I fully understood what you mean.
    Equal distribution and appropriate distribution contradict themselves. As far as I understood, Rawls was talking about appropriate distribution only, not equal distribution. He did mention social and economic inequalities as part of society. But that they have to be so arranged that this imbalance is justified (= justice), that even the least-advantaged member can benefit from it in the end.
    I hope I didn't get you wrong.
    Well, you're just clarifying Rawls' point here, not arguing against my point. Yes, Rawls wanted appropriate distribution, not equal distribution. But he also clearly feels that appropriate distribution is closer to equal distribution than what occurs in a laissez-faire situation, and offers a guide to find the right distribution. I was simply stating that I think he co-opts some key terms and that I disagree with some of his suggestions.

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    aimless wanderer Mzungu mchagga's Avatar
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    Yes, I think there was some idealisitc belief when he came up with these terms. Most likely other people will have their own ideals of how to run a society and define those terms like 'equality' or 'justice' according to their purposes. And this is why discussions like this will always turn in circles...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mzungu mchagga View Post
    Yes, I think there was some idealisitc belief when he came up with these terms. Most likely other people will have their own ideals of how to run a society and define those terms like 'equality' or 'justice' according to their purposes. And this is why discussions like this will always turn in circles...
    I couldn't agree more. That sort of comes back to Wittgenstein again, who said (in his later works) that philosophical disagreements tend to result from people using terms incorrectly.

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    Do you believe that one day we will have a relatively equal society?

    To be more specific do you think poverty can ever be eliminated? If you look at the poor in western countries they are living like kings in comparison to what the poor lived like say 100 years ago. While the living standard may have risen they are still considered poor by modern standards. The gap has maybe closed but the inequality remains.

    Will technology one day make all menial work redundant so humans will only work in highly skilled positions where pay will be equal? Small populations of highly educated equal individuals, achieved perhaps through the use of genetic modification?

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    Quote Originally Posted by edao View Post
    1. Will technology one day make all menial work redundant so humans will only work in highly skilled positions where pay will be equal?
    2.Small populations of highly educated equal individuals, achieved perhaps through the use of genetic modification?

    1. There will be two classes of people. Entrepreneurs that employ robots in their businesses, and they will make tons of money. Then there will be the rest or people taking money for nothing, and rather equally. This will be a back door communism.

    2. At the end all people will be genetically enhanced, made it clinics, not in beds. They will be all smart, healthy and beautiful. What parents would risk to make a mediocre, normal human being just from having sex? The kid would suffer all life.

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    aimless wanderer Mzungu mchagga's Avatar
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    Aldous Huxley wrote from a future retrospective that all people being smart didn't work socially, so the people prefered a caste system, which finally led to the one of 'Brave New World'.

    I believe that forecasts of this matter are way too unpredictable. There are too many opponents and movements (scientists, Christians of every kind, other religions, Socialists, Liberals, Conservatives, Green movement etc...) at the moment, as well as unpredictable incidents, that makes any realistic view into the future impossible.

    Of course it will be the rich only who can afford to genetically modify their children, which will exclude about at least 4/5 of the world population, inclusively all developing countries (except for the rulers). I can't imagine at the moment what impact this will have on the world. If one nation will launch and legalize this development, soon other nations and people will automatically follow, except for those who can't, which will bring the final end to equality.

    Exactly for this reason I believe that this development will procede steadily, but very, very slowly. And the 'cyborg scenario' might overtake the 'mutant scenario' one day. It might be a little more expensive, but ethically it will still be more acceptable for most people to insert artificial organs, biotechnological maintenances or other beauty accessoirs on already existing people, as it can more easily be booked under plain 'health service'. And in medical research, development and practice we have already long ago started, without much or even any resistance. The 'genetically modified' will eventually have their big breakthrough when the 'cyborgs' have already gained a foothold.
    But still, robots are more temperature, pressure, acid and radiation resistent in space than the best biological creature. So I bet on the cyborgs (and from them to robots) on the long run!

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    Nature produces human beings with all kinds of talents. Noone is equal, but all deserve equal chances of development.
    A hierarchy can be deadly for a society. Society develops in a constant revolution, or evolution.

    Mutants and cyborgs are fiction. It doesn't work that way.
    People don't change that much in 10.000 years.
    Our forefathers were as intelligent like we, but they had less opportunities.

    BTW.. I still think it's possible that mankind even gets more stupid every day...
    At least if I see what is going on in the world of today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reinaert View Post
    Nature produces human beings with all kinds of talents. Noone is equal, but all deserve equal chances of development.
    A hierarchy can be deadly for a society. Society develops in a constant revolution, or evolution.

    Mutants and cyborgs are fiction. It doesn't work that way.
    People don't change that much in 10.000 years.
    Our forefathers were as intelligent like we, but they had less opportunities.

    BTW.. I still think it's possible that mankind even gets more stupid every day...
    At least if I see what is going on in the world of today.
    You might be quite right - human brain has been shrinking since the last ice age...
    http://www.srilankafoundation.lk/ind...ogy&Itemid=317

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dagne View Post
    You might be quite right - human brain has been shrinking since the last ice age...
    http://www.srilankafoundation.lk/ind...ogy&Itemid=317

    Its not about how big your brain is, but what you do with it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

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    Hmm.. I guess I hit the hammer on the nail

    But what I mean with stupidity of man is something different than the size of the brains.
    My point is, human beings today have such a load of possibilities to develop and study, but only a tiny minority is using it.

    In the middle ages most people didn't know, because they didn't have an opportunity to learn. Now we have all the opportunities with television, media and internet, the schools and universities, but most of the people don't care.
    They go and sit watching reality shows...
    "Look.. She's eating worms!!! EEEEEK!"

    Albert Einstein:

    “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity;
    and I'm not sure about the the universe.”


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    Quote Originally Posted by edao View Post
    Its not about how big your brain is, but what you do with it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
    Agreed, and most people don't use their brain very well..
    Look.. They always vote for the wrong political party..

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    If most people are not using their brain, it may well start shrinking. It sounds quite logical to me.

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