28 February 2020

Ignacio Equality vs. fairness

Hi Lawrence,

Bellow I include not an essay, but just a few thoughts about the proposed topic.

Equality vs. fairness

Equality and fairness are criteria to characterize social behaviour.

In a one to one interaction, maybe reciprocity is the key and just the fairness criteria apply.

In the case of interacting with a group, the result will depend on the group considered. An equal or fair inheritance will be equal or fair for the inheritors, but not if we also consider people out of this group.

Beyond that, equality seems to be an objective criteria, fairness is inherently subjective and Justice should be some kind of fairness socially agreed.

In my opinion in most of the cases subjective fairness is closer to "ideal" fairness, if any, than equality. Besides we don't know when it's not so. Does it also encourages good behaviour?

Being unfair in a good sense could be even better in some cases. No reason to limit it to just equality.

It's true also that equality has some advantages:
- When we are the ones to be treated with fairness or with equality, maybe we would prefer the second option some times (most of? least of?).
- If equality is the rule, then there is no doubt, no personal responsibility in the decision taken.
- It's also in line with the idea of no personal responsibility, no personal freedom, just fate. Being all born equal our differences are not our responsibility.
- With equality there's no reason for envy.


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