There are problems with equality. Not in the sense that it should not be something we aspire to but in the way people interpet it to mean different things. Whilst some political ideologies such as conservatism accept the natural hierarchical nature of society, others seek to promote equality simply because it is more ‘fair’. I think that is the right approach but even in this, there are differences. One of the greatest distinctions is between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome.
Equality of opportunity is what the world appears to currently promote. You can see it in campaigns run by companies to have ethnic minorities in the workplace or by governments who pass anti-discrimination laws and other initiatives aimed at increasing ‘equality.’ However, here lies the problem with equality of opportunity. It is extremely difficult to implement properly without great funding as the task is enormous. You may set laws for companies to have a certain amount of employees from an ethnic minority background but what if there is no one from these minorities applying for a position since they couldn’t afford to go to university? What if they are lacking any experience because no one is willing to give them a basic job?
The arguement is that equality of opportunity is fanciful. The fact is for it to be possible, every person would have to start life off in the same way. Obviously, that is impossible as the rich would be able to provide their children with higher quality things than the poor. Whilst the working class child has to play on the streets every day after school, the middle or upper class child attends a private school where extra-curricular activities are offered in great number and then, when the child comes home, they have a private tutor waiting for them.
This does not mean that the middle or upper class child is spoilt, it merely shows the vast differences in the nurturing of children between those who have money and those who don’t. So right from the beginning, equality of opportunity does not exist. It is almost as if the divide is so great that it can be likened to the ‘separate but equal’ mantra spouted by the racist governments prior to the civil rights movement in America. Every child in the UK or other such countries has access to education but it is evident that the level of education they each receive depends on how much money their parents have. This pattern can be seen throughout a person’s development. For example, teenagers need work experience to build up their CV but what if they can’t afford to take leave from their normal part-time job just to conduct unpaid work experience?
Therefore, for equality of opportunity to exist, people would have to start the race of life from the same point, right from the beginning. Is this even possible? What measures can be introduced to go about achieving this? Or is equality of outcome something we should aspire for instead?