Monday, January 07, 2008

A slice of the world for all

Yesterday over lunch, one of my acquaintances said,
Two or three hundred years later, when we do achieve the ideal state of equality, people of that age will look at us and wonder how we could have lived like this, how we could have enjoyed delicious meals in restaurants when people outside did not have food to eat. Just as we look at Slavery and holocaust and wonder how people could have coexisted with such practices, the future generations will look at us and wonder how we could have lived with so much inequality.
It was a wonderful thought, full of optimism and a conviction that inequality does not a merit a place in the society just as holocaust and slavery. And I would love to be a part of her thought, believe that the world will see a day like that someday. But what is Equality really?

I, for one, do not believe in a system that aims to achieve absolute equality (like Communism, for instance). On the other hand, I believe in the fundamental principle of capitalism - Competitiveness. I believe that one should strive and work hard to achieve something substantial. There should always be the possibility for one to outgrow one's peers and the entire system. This dream is what drives men towards greatness, towards achievement.

In such a world, there is never going to be financial equality. There will be those that are rich and those that are poor. People will be spread across an entire gamut of occupations each of which will pay differently. There will be a small subsection of the world which owns substantially more wealth than the rest.

Equality for me is a world where everyone has the opportunity to do this. Where everyone's basic needs are taken care of, where everyone is provided with education and the skills that empower him to define one's future. Where even the most baseline facilities to the bottom of the pyramid are relevant and standardized. And what one does with it is entirely his own prerogative. Like the American declaration of independence says, everyone is given the right for "the pursuit of happiness" and not happiness itself. That I believe is a key difference.

Equality is not about sameness. It is about giving everyone choice.

To create true equality is not about abolishing poverty and redistributing wealth across everyone in the world. It is about creating opportunities for all. And that is what will drive true sustainable change in the society. The question now should be how we can achieve that. I agree that the answer is not straight forward. But at least, we know what the question is.

What do you think?

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Blogger Goli said...

Equality can be defined in many ways, like in terms of social equality, economic equality and so on. And I do agree to what you say, I think we should strive for social equality, where everyone has equal opportunity, irrespective of race, gender, caste etc.

But I did like the thought, it is very powerful.

And do remove this word verification for writing comments, it is irritating.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Rathish said...

The big question now is how can we achieve it :-)

Oh the word verification is to save the blog from spam!

1:45 PM  
Blogger Y? said...

Nice post. Sticks in my head . :)
PS: Hope you are doing well

4:51 PM  

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