By John Baker
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Additional resources for Arguing for Equality
You deserve, in return, absolutely nothing. Of course, the 'rewards for contributions' argument doesn't have to be put in terms of desert. You might put it like this: I made this product; therefore I ought to get it or its equivalent back'. There's nothing especially to do with desert here. You're asserting a property right over what you have made. It's a good question, discussed in Chapter 7, to ask for the basis of such property rights; the point here is that desert is not the answer. Would people deserve a reward for a real contribution?
That's why social classes, though formed by the economy, have different cultures, too. By contrast, a sense of community depends on a common culture, with a core of shared attitudes and values. Economic equality is thus a basic precondition for a developed sense of community. Once established, a sense of community helps to sustain the economic equality it depends on. For any economy involves relations of exchange or 'reciprocity' -- you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. Our present economy conducts this exchange very narrowly, trading goods and services for specific payments in return.
But because it's so difficult to prove discrimination in practice, and because there's so much resistance to reform, quotas are the only practical way of dealing with the problem. -45- An Equal Opportunity -- to be Unequal! These five standard forms of equality of opportunity have one thing in common. They all take it for granted that there is a system of jobs and forms of education which vary in pay and prospects, and that more people want the good ones than can have them. The whole point of these principles is to regulate the competition for advantage.
Arguing for Equality by John Baker