EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY VS EQUALITY OF OUTCOME

Arguing the Point That Equality of Opportunity Is Better Than Equality of Outcome

That one may be acknowledged as an egalitarian society, a nation should maintain justice and fairness to make sure that its citizens are not shown prejudice and can achieve their full capabilities (Heywood 2017, p.101). In this type of society, equality can be divided into two types: equality of opportunity and equality of outcome. There is no single form of equality. Rather, it exists in a variety of different kinds. On the other hand, there’s also equality of outcome for a balance in favorable circumstances. Egalitarians advocate for a culture where every person is considered equal for instance in property and wealth acquisition (Hoffman and Graham 2006, p. 62). This essay will argue the point that equality of opportunity is better than equality of outcome.        

  Equality of opportunity is a standard of earthly equality. It has substantial significance for the function of the state in personal and family life. For example, if a nation intends to give its people equivalent favorable circumstances to acquire skilled jobs, the government will have to get rid of constitutional barriers to taking the jobs. Equality of opportunity is better than equality of outcome because we must have equal opportunities to make it in life. If three-quarters of jobs are gotten through networking, those with the highest number of relevant networks of employer’s win. An egalitarian society is one that is solid and cohesive without being divided by status or class. Democracy is a form of political equality, that is, one individual, one vote (Hoffman and Graham 2006, p. 62).           

 Three Main Arguments in Favour of Equality of Opportunity

In the first place, claims advocating for equality of opportunity should be probed before criticizing them. One of the most famous sentiments supporting equality of opportunity was publicized by Robert Nozick. This philosopher said that remitting taxes is wrongful and infringes on individual rights (Nozick 1974, p. 235). He supported his view by adding that taxation inhibits individuals from achieving their full capabilities and focuses on improving the impoverished people through depriving successful individuals (Nozick 1974, p. 236).

Furthermore, Kodelja states that equality of opportunity thrives through meritocracy (2016, p.20). This can be described as a political idea that presumes that natives of a country should be remunerated depending on their skills instead of their prestige or influence (Oxford Learners Dictionary, 2020). In a meritocracy, everyone has a similar chance, although merit determines how rewards are allocated (for example the education system). This affects the perception that the method of using quotas is biased since it prefers some individuals over others, and ranks them depending on their financial or public status rather than their potential and can occasionally result in the best-suited individuals fail to get hired (Dahlerup 2007).           

            As an illustration, a prevalent expectation is that beautiful ladies who are less capable can get employed in government to occupy a quota rather than a more capable male since she belongs to the female gender (Dahlerup 2007). A third assertion that supports equality of opportunity is the fact that it hinders those who take advantage of others so that they can get free benefits such as entertainment and food since it needs direct participation so that each individual can prosper (Nozick 1974, p.268). On the other hand, equality of outcome is presumed to facilitate “bludgers” since individuals, despite their potential can get a similar quantity of possessions or money (Phillips 2004, p.3). For instance, a scientist or engineer needs skills that are somehow rare than being a politician.

However, both of them can get comparable salaries from the equality of income perspective (Phillips 2004, p.3). Equality of opportunity considers scarcity (meaning it is impossible to give any individual precisely what they want). A majority of the good things in communities (for instance academic degrees) are positional – in the event they are allocated to each person, their value would be lost. Since it perceives the important role that efficiency plays, equality of opportunity notices the most suitable people for each task. It also develops a dynamic community where everyone can gain from the prosperity of those who are gifted. This is also known as the ‘trickle-down’ effect. After examining these claims, looking at these issues from the equality of outcome point of view will counter the claims.

Objections / Criticism of Equality of Opportunity

The criticisms of equal opportunity can be seen while studying equality of outcome.

 Taxation Does Greater Good Than Harm

Even though some individuals perceive taxation to oppress them, others justify it since generally, its benefits are felt by everyone (Nozick 1974). Wealthy people pay higher taxes in comparison with the poor in accessing similar services, for instance, public health and education. In societies where equality of opportunity is more commonplace (for instance America), the welfare state is tinier. On the other hand, in countries with more levels of equality of outcome (socialism), for instance the Scandinavian social democracy, the welfare states are bigger. The horizontal equity principle states that individuals in similar circumstances should be evaluated equally irrespective of their salaries. Taxation brings the greatest good for more people since everyone benefits from essential services (ATO 2019). The proportion of government revenue allocated to education has steadily increased over the years for all levels of government. In 2018-19, $105 million was allocated to the education sector (ABS 2019).

 It Is Important to Reduce Economic Inequality

Although most proponents of equality of opportunity assume that equality of outcome hinders individuals from achieving their capabilities by getting rid of the merit system; rather, its goal is to help needy individuals to help poor people through lowering economic inequality. Research by numerous organizations has found out that the wealthiest one percent currently has more than half of the wealth on our planet. In 1996, Forbes’s World Billionaire’s list did not have any Chinese. In 2005, 2 Chinese got to the list, and by 2010, they had reached 64. The 2016 list had 251 Chinese (Anand and Segal, 2017 p. 4). As of 2019, Forbes had 389 Chinese Billionaires compared to 324 in 2019 (Forbes, 2020).      

Not Everyone Pursues Self-Interest

It is not everyone who is at the top or bottom of social status who deserves to be there. In Australia, many people depend on welfare for basic services such as social housing, child protection, domestic and social violence assistance, youth groups, among others. The amount of financial resources spent by the Australian government annually has continued on a steady rise. It currently accounts for the highest proportion of GDP than ever. It has risen from 8.6% in the 2006 / 2007 financial year to 9.5% in the 2015 / 2016 financial year. 6.3% was spent on unemployment benefits, 27% on welfare and, 67% on specific needy populations (AIHW 2017). These populations can’t be classified as “bludgers” although they would like to work, they are hindered by the absence of opportunities and jobs. 

Affirmative Action

Affirmative action, alternatively referred to as positive discrimination where women and other minorities get nominations or quotas in institutions such as parliaments, and political parties is another example of equality of outcome. It discusses tangible needs mostly experienced by people of color and gender inequalities. Examples of this include lowering some of the requirements for admission to institutions of higher learning and quotas for jobs (a certain percentage is reserved for women or another minority group). It functions someplace between the equality of opportunity and equality of out6come, although its goal is to ensure equality of opportunity (Hoffman and Graham 2006, p. 63).           

Hard to Deal with Social Class

This is because it is impossible to completely ‘cut off” a person from his or her upbringing and ancestry. Attempts to draw in fairness through equal opportunity are curtailed by the challenges of individuals who have diverse starting points from the onset of the socio-economic contest. An individual born into a financially well-off family is in a more favored position from birth in comparison with the one born in a poor family (Phillips 2004, p.27).

Conclusion This essay argued the point that equality of opportunity is better than equality of outcome. Three arguments in favour of equality of opportunity were discussed. Paying taxes is viewed as unfair and abuse of rights by some people because it hinders some people from realizing their full capabilities. It also adopts meritocracy, and thus quotas are considered partial because they reward potential. Equality of opportunity also restricts “freeloaders” and assists “bludgers”. The three arguments criticizing equality of opportunity that were discussed can be summarized as follows. Taxation benefits the general population, through the provision of education, health, security, transport, among other essential services. It is also crucial to lower economic inequality so that wealth can be evenly distributed so that everyone has equal access to higher education, income, and other opportunities for success. The final criticism of equality of opportunity is that “bludgers” are not the only ones who get assistance from it. Some people are willing to work but are hindered by a lack of opportunities and support.   

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