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Equality: Equal Opportunities Essay

1266 words - 5 pages

We, human beings, have formed a society based on certain rules that govern our actions and behavior. We share mutual resources and while building up our lives we commit innumerate amount of decisions everyday that lead us to differing paths. Some of us are more successful than others due to various reasons. Many people question whether the success someone has experienced is due to hard work and entitlement or simple luck. Success itself is a vague concept and has its own connotations for everyone. It may mean love, power, resources or anything else. A centuries old debate for societies has been whether the ‘success’ is distributed fairly across its members. If it is due to luck, then why is person A more privileged than person B who would result unhappy. Person A obviously replies that he/she is worth it and has worked hard for the followed success. Person B, on the other hand, is unsatisfied because he sees that he was not at the right place at the right time when the ‘success’ happened demanding a compensation, in other words, equality.
It is hard to find anyone who would oppose the notion of equality. The difficulty arrives when questions such as ‘equality between whom’ and ‘equality of what’ arise with diverging opinions. (Baker, Lynch, Cantillon, & Walsh, 2004). In political ideologies debate, we may identify the two main approaches to equality. Liberals advocate the equality of opportunity such that every member of society should be allowed to have a same starting position in order to equally compete for the advantage. Socialists, quite the contrary, claim that a civilization is about the equality of outcomes and that citizens of one community should eventually have similar living standards or access to resources without big gaps. In the present essay, the two concepts are critically analyzed, followed by the discussion about equality of condition brought up by Baker et al., (2004) showing that we cannot only focus on one or another for a harmonious functioning of a society.
Defenders of equality of opportunity base their moral arguments on merit such that as far as we eliminate the factors of race, caste, sexual orientation and other ‘inborn’ factors, all people can make their way up (or down) (Arneson, 2002). For example, certain profession may require certain skills and knowledge, in this case the hiring decision can only be made based on those values leaving race, gender and family history out of the question. What if a job requires a large social network, then is it not the case that candidates from affluent families have an advantage because they tend to have more influential connections? This situation can be regarded as inevitable and applicants with less secure material backgrounds have to work harder beforehand in order to assure those connections. However, concept of equal opportunity can ensure the access of educational institutions through subsidy systems so that no one would be cut out of the opportunity to develop necessary...

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