An Argument against Fairness

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Nov 13, 2015
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“Fairness is the quality of making judgments that are free from discrimination” (vocabulary.com). I think people like to think that fairness is the most important, because it sounds really nice. As a result of this thinking philosophers like Plato have thought to develop societies around the pillar of fairness.

Later revolutionaries have thought to actually implement Plato’s ideas of fairness in a government and it resulted in the Soviet Union. The idea that all people should be equal taken to the logical conclusion is the making of all people equal socially, legally, and financially. This unfortunately results in mass poverty as it makes everyone equal, but the pyramid of wealth is bottom heavy.

Historic results of fairness based systems have been disastrous. Those who disagree will point to modern socialist nations in Europe like the Icelandic countries, Germany, France, and Great Britain. In the short term these nations have had massive success with income inequality and government provided benefits.

However, these nations have very poor growth rates and as a result in the long term they will do much worse. It doesn’t matter where you are as a nation, it matters where you are going. When societies prioritize fairness they become less successful in the future, but some basic fairness is good. Such as: voting equality, legal equality, and fair treatment of individuals.

Comments

Fairness isn't socialism

Submitted by iamalex8021 on Mon, 2015-11-16 13:25.

Complete and total fairness is nearly impossible to achieve, but that doesn't mean a greater level of fairness and equality shouldn't be strived for. For example, in America, some CEO's make hundreds of millions of dollars a year, while the lowest employees in their companies have to work multiple jobs at minimum wage for a chance to support their families and feed their kids. Everyone shouldn't make the same amount of money or have everything exactly the same, but families shouldn't be starving working with parents working two jobs. This is just one example of injustices that happen worldwide. Even basic levels of fairness don't exist in many places. Fairness and socialism are far different from each other. Everyone shouldn't be the same, but everyone deservers to live a comfortable life and have access to basic needs like food and water. This is fairness.

That is socialism

Submitted by Jacob_Pulice on Tue, 2015-12-01 13:44.

You are arguing that fairness isn't socialism, and then support that by explaining why it is distinct from communism. They aren't the same. The fairness for wealth inequality is an issue that socialism discusses (listen to Bernie Sanders).

I agree with this idea that

Submitted by kenyaclark on Mon, 2015-11-16 15:22.

I agree with this idea that complete fairness just won't work in a society. If everyone has the same taxes, and living conditions, etc. then people won't feel up to their whole worth. It's a hard thing to grasp, but it does make sense if you take a step back and look at how the world is truly being affected.

A Response for Fairness

Submitted by MannyCondas349 on Mon, 2015-11-16 16:09.

I agree with the fundamental point that you are trying to make, but I disagree with your use of the word 'fairness' in the context of your thesis. It seems to me like you are distorting the very definition of fairness, which you were so kind to have supplied, and modifying it to be more similar to the idea of equality of opportunity. I agree that fairness is fundamentally unachievable because there are fundamental differences between people that will cause them to be treated differently. However, when you started using evidence like the Scandinavian countries, you equated the idea of fairness with the equality of opportunity that is found in those countries. This difference provides a different perspective relative to your wonderful argument.

Fairness should be a guaranteed right

Submitted by yayussuf on Mon, 2015-11-16 21:41.

I strongly believe that countries that have huge welfare plans and other social programs have helped make their country into a less divided state where there are less riots, decreasing poverty and hunger, and an equal chance to do financially well. You keep saying that the only countries that have done this social experiments are Great Britain, Germany,the Scandinavian countries, and other European countries and because of their fairness polices it led to a decrease in economic growth. I would like to remind you that the US had started huge welfare plans and social reforms during the 60's to 80's because of that we saw huge economic gains. The economy grew like never before and we had a huge increase in the middle class and those years were probably the best in American History( both socially and financially). By making sure fairness is a guaranteed right, then will have an increase in economic growth and social development.

Fairness should be a guaranteed right

Submitted by yayussuf on Mon, 2015-11-16 21:41.

I strongly believe that countries that have huge welfare plans and other social programs have helped make their country into a less divided state where there are less riots, decreasing poverty and hunger, and an equal chance to do financially well. You keep saying that the only countries that have done this social experiments are Great Britain, Germany,the Scandinavian countries, and other European countries and because of their fairness polices it led to a decrease in economic growth. I would like to remind you that the US had started huge welfare plans and social reforms during the 60's to 80's because of that we saw huge economic gains. The economy grew like never before and we had a huge increase in the middle class and those years were probably the best in American History( both socially and financially). By making sure fairness is a guaranteed right, then will have an increase in economic growth and social development.

Although you make some

Submitted by becca_hen87 on Tue, 2015-11-17 00:57.

Although you make some interesting points against promoting equality, I have to disagree. Many socialist nations work to ensure that everyone has equal opportunity, equal education, and an affordable lifestyle for all citizens. These things do cost money, and because of that socialist nations' economies can be slowed down. But overall the benefits of having a nation where poverty is reduced, everyone has access to healthcare and food, and a priority on fairness, outweigh the economic costs. We don't know what the future will hold, but by making equality a top priority, we can try to find ways to be both successful and fair.

A Response

Submitted by dominiquebird on Thu, 2015-11-19 22:30.

Although I agree with the definition you provided, I like to think of fairness also as justice. However, fairness does not entail equality. Sometimes what is more fair and more just is not equal. Look at the difference in minimum wage between states. A state like Vermont has a minimum wage of $9 while a different state like North Dakota has theirs at $7.25. This is not equal, but it's fair. The cost of living is higher in Vermont so it makes sense that their workers get paid more, so they can afford to live where they work. Fairness can be determined on a case by case basis. Like you said, some things should most definitely be equal for everyone like voting, or access to public education, but other things, such as government assistance, should be distributed in the most effective way among the population in need. This makes people fair and equal; the opportunities to pursue work, education, and leisure free from discrimination and regardless of environment. The creation of an impoverished class through "equality" does not truly constitute fairness nor a real sense of equality.

A Response

Submitted by dominiquebird on Thu, 2015-11-19 22:30.

Although I agree with the definition you provided, I like to think of fairness also as justice. However, fairness does not entail equality. Sometimes what is more fair and more just is not equal. Look at the difference in minimum wage between states. A state like Vermont has a minimum wage of $9 while a different state like North Dakota has theirs at $7.25. This is not equal, but it's fair. The cost of living is higher in Vermont so it makes sense that their workers get paid more, so they can afford to live where they work. Fairness can be determined on a case by case basis. Like you said, some things should most definitely be equal for everyone like voting, or access to public education, but other things, such as government assistance, should be distributed in the most effective way among the population in need. This makes people fair and equal; the opportunities to pursue work, education, and leisure free from discrimination and regardless of environment. The creation of an impoverished class through "equality" does not truly constitute fairness nor a real sense of equality.

fairness

Submitted by guzmanyv on Tue, 2015-12-01 14:08.

Yes, i agree that we need to focus on general equality, in the eyes of the government. There are multiple movements to end misconceptions and stereotypes, but I feel that these antagonize people for being misinformed. You cannot end prejudice head-on. Time is needed and it should not be the government's place to change the opinion of people.

It is kind of hard to not make an argument about how capitalism is bad. We live in a (mostly) capitalistic country, one that is successful. Some see income inequality as unfair because some have more than others. You can give people equal opportunity but it does not mean that everyone will be equally successful.

I am glad to see your post

Submitted by Bri13 on Mon, 2016-03-07 19:31.

I am glad to see your post because that is how I see fairness. A couple of sentences you wrote that stand out to me are: "When societies prioritize fairness they become less successful in the future, but some basic fairness is good. Such as: voting equality, legal equality, and fair treatment of individuals." I think this is spot on because we have to have basic rights as equals to get anywhere but there's only some things that should be equal. I do agree with you that when everyone is totally equal, it doesn't benefit the country. One reason I say this is because if everyone was given the same things, some people would take advantage of that. Another reason I agree with you is that the result of too much fairness leads to communism.