The Nitty-Gritty

Just a few quick points:

1. Your notion of “Equality of Opportunity” is underpinned by a larger economic ideology. It defines “dreams” in a far too narrow sense by denying any value that isn’t economic. “Dreams” which aren’t economically valid are consigned to failure. To paraphrase your paraphrase, “All dreams are equal, but some are more equal than others.” 

The effect of this is to ignore values which aren’t economic, leading, ultimately, to “consumerism” in all its most negative senses. Now you can deride this as a personal ideologic assertion, and in the sense that I attribute a negative judgement to it, it is. However, the point is, it is the only situation which can obtain given the conditions you suggest. While individual opinions of this result are a matter of indifference, it must be recognised that any set of conditions which give rise to one possible outcome is a form of totalitarianism.

Choice and freedom are an illusion under economic values. That is, I am free to choose from economic alternatives only.

2. You have provided no method of demonstrating that “Equality of Opportunity” has been established. There is no method by which to observe and measure, or in any other way verify, that Equality of Opportunity has indeed been obtained. As such, Equality of Opportunity is forced to remain an ideological assertion, and a deeply teleological one at that.

3. It must be made clear that to simply see this issue at a national level is consequently to replay the whole the whole ideological error at an international scale. Rich countries are rich because they deserve it, and poor countries, well, they should try hard to become more like rich countries.

4. In my view, the ideal system is one which places the Economy subservient to the people, and not the other way around, as narrow views of Equality of Opportunity inevitably do. This is not to suggest that all aspects of an economy are to be centrally mandated, only that, given relative freedom from economic concerns people are more free to follow their “dreams.”

It is not about guaranteeing total equality of outcome but about making sure that everybody has enough to survive. It is about paying students, unemployed, carers, retirees, injured, etc. a liveable wage.

It is about ensuring that histories other than the best-selling are recorded. 

It is about ensuring that research is allowed to progress without the goal of producing a product to be sold.

It is about making sure that wealth is kept circulating and not allowed to accumulate in relatively few gigantic pools. At the moment in WA, as I’m sure you have realised, land values and rents are tremendously over-valued. The effect of this is to make the most effective way to purchase property is to already have property. And this is the same pattern being played out in many aspects of life.

As a model of the narrow sense (the economic sense) of Equality of Opportunity, the epitome is the board game, Monopoly. Everybody starts completely equally and then has to rely on luck and skill. The game ends when somebody has collected all the wealth to the extent that nobody else can move. To suggest that the board needs to be reset from time to time (or more commonly, “Let’s play again!”) is not Socialism.

 

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