ALS Topic 12 - All men are not created equal, neither are all women

Focus questions for Adelaide Lunchtime Seminar, 7 July 2018 (https://www.meetup.com/AdelaideLunchtimeSeminar/ )

Note: The questions below are not supposed to suggest biased answers. You really can adopt any point of view your can suggest evidence for. Do be prepared for others suggesting counter-evidence! Note: clearly not all of these questions can be properly covered in a meetup, but they give us a conscious choice about what to talk about while making the background context clearer. It is up to the people who come on the day to choose what aspects they would like to deal with.

Focus Questions:


1. Think of some instances where inequality is actually good, and some where it is bad.

2. A society aiming for fairness should recognize that everyone is NOT equal and cannot be equal. Equal in what way? Without handicapping those with special talent in some direction, the society should provide optimum oportunities for each individual to achieve their best potential, whatever that may be. If you agree, how can this be done?

3. The public ideology of United States is built on a pyramid of lies. By beginning with the (obviously false) proposition that all men (/women) are created equal, the rules of this society imply that actual inequality after birth is the fault of those who are not members of some elite, that those left behind are personally negligent. Can you think of actual examples of where assuming that every child starts equal creates bad outcomes.

4. The profession of teaching is about bringing each student to his or her best potential, whatever that may be. What does this craft really have to do with 'completing' set text books and curriculums?

5. Australians often say proudly that Australia is "the land of a fair go" where everyone has the opportunity of a good life. However, status seeking is only approved in certain directions. Seeking wealth, possessions and popularity is approved of. Seeking knowledge and systematic thinking are often regarded with suspicion. So why are some kinds of inequality (specialness) approved of while others are not?

6. Teenagers desperately try to conform and be seen as equals within their peer groups, yet at the same time are vulnerable to advertising products (e.g. fashion items) which claim to give them a unique personal edge in relationships such as the mating game. Why does this contradiction exist?

7. If everyone were actually equal in every way, wouldn't rationally arranged marriages work better than hoping for love matches?

8. In most East Asian and South Asian cultures there is a very strong, rarely questioned assumption that people in so-called white collar occupations are superior to people in blue collar occupations. Invasive ideologies like communism have had little impact on this belief. One result is that getting servants is a prime status ambition of many upwardly mobile Asian families (Singapore is a clear example of this). How much do Anglo & European Australians actually differ from Asian white collar / blue collar ideals, and is this likely to affect long term cultural integration in Australia?

9. There is now a very large body of research showing that societies with the highest levels of income inequality have much worse health outcomes, shorter life expectancy, more crime, greater unhappiness (even among the privileged), greater political instability ... and a whole catalogue of other negatives. Given this reality, why is the drive to achieve status through inequality so strong and politically popular?

10. If everyone were really equal in every way, from personal attributes and intelligence to wealth, to knowledge, to access to opportunity, ... then surely the economy would collapse. This is because

a) people would refuse to do many jobs they see as undesirable;

b) a huge proportion of businesses are built around the market ignorance, laziness, greed, poor choices, etc of customers;

c) a huge proportion of businesses are badly run and only survive because of customer ignorance, laziness etc together with unfair trading practices ;

d) every market is gamed. That is, some players always have unfair advantages. On a perfectly level playing field - an impossible proposition - the bulk of businesses would be swept away.

=> None of these conditions is likely to change regardless of economic systems. So given that some kinds of inequality are built-in, unavoidable and sometimes even desirable, what kind of society and economic system is actually likely to work best for most people?



Thor's own websites:

1. articles at http://independent.academia.edu/ThorMay ;

2. legacy site: http://thormay.net .

 


All men are not created equal, neigher are all women (c) Thor May 2018 return to Ddiscussion