Monday, 11 October 2010

In today's Guardian, Julian Glover ( who bills himself as a Lib Dem but spouts the Daily Mail line without any obvious restraint in his weekly Guardian column) has the proposition that equality is a bad thing, or as he puts it
.."a fair society may be one in which people have the right to strive for inequality"
The article is in response to a report by the Equalities and Human Right Commission which broadly champions more equality and less inequality.

Glovers response is to challange the definition and vagueness of "fairness" and to suggest that economic equality is not  a suitable goal for a fair society.

"Its definition of a fair society is one that champions the constant reduction of unequal outcomes..."
"I think the EHRC has a wrongheaded idea of fairness. It measures the extent to which people's lives are different, and then calculates the action needed to make them more the same. The assumption is that equality is what we all want."
I have to say that IMO Julian has got his philosphical positioning a bit wrong. I would say that  a.... "society in which people have the right to strive for inequality.." a free society.

A fair society is a free society in which that freedom is balanced by others striving for (and being free to strive for) a more equal distribution of the economic wealth. And, it seems obvious to me, if a society is too unequal, then it will become much less fair and, eventually, much less free.

Last month I blogged about The Spirit Level, a book that...
"....has a simple, but politically explosive, theme: that greater inequality is the cause of many modern problems and, by logicical implication, that greater equality can be the solution to many of the problems of western societies..."
Of course, if Julian reall was a "liberal", he would know, or at least instinctively feel, the truth of that already....

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