Data Peasant

Thoughts on equality (without the moralizing)

*The following is my paraphrasing of Benjamin Studebaker, a great political thinker and writer I've recently discovered. His thinking struck me in the moment, and I had to write the ideas down.

1) What is the currency of justice?

Equality implies that there is some abstract countable unit that can be "equalized". But what is that unit of exchange? Here's a non-exhaustive starter list of possibilities:

  • resources
  • opportunity
  • welfare
  • concern
  • capability

2) How should we distribute this currency?

Should we prioritize only the worst off, and improve their lives with bare necessities (homeless shelters, food, emergency care)?

Is there a minimum but sufficient amount of currency that everyone must get, after which the market can be free?

Would a utilitarian method work, where currency is reallocated until we hit a point of diminishing returns?

Or, should we aim for strict equality?

3) Who should we give the currency to?

Can we take a fine-grained approach and equalize all individuals? Or, would it be better to take a more coarse-grained approach and equalize identity groups or classes?

Should a political state try to redistribute currency to only their citizens? Or should they go broader and help immigrants as well? Or even broader and help all human beings?

Are living human beings the only subjects worthy of consideration, or should we also aim to care for animals and plants? Should we try to create a world that we think will be more equal for people in the future?

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