Sunday, April 22, 2012

Unfair advantages

I heard recently about a few instances which people claimed gave "unfair advantages" to some. We expend a lot of effort to make things fair ... or to complain when they aren't fair.

There is a runner who had his legs amputated to the knees. He uses some springy devices that enable him to compete favorably with full-bodied runners. It is claimed he has an unfair advantage because he doesn't have any feet. The runners commission recently ruled that he could compete. I'm not sure that they used the argument that anyone could have their feet cut off if they wanted to run faster.

Then there are the complaints that corporations shouldn't be able to contribute to political candidates. But efforts to make it fairer might cause more problems than they solve. And it is an easy law to bypass. Corporations simply have to increase salaries with the expectation that their employees contribute.

And it isn't fair that Romney paid only 18 million in income tax, a mere 15% of his income, where someone who makes far less pays a higher percentage.

Some say insider trading should be allowed. It actually could benefit everyone, because we'd see what the insiders were doing and could trade based on that information. Others, of course, say it ain't fair.

We love to demonize. One way of doing that is to complain about what we don't have. "Fair" seems to be one means to get what we want. We deserve it, we say, because we don't have it. When my kids would pull the fairness argument I would just say that life is not fair. They didn't think of coming up with the retort, "well, it should be, and so let's take the first step."

What do you think? Should life be fair? At what cost to our freedom?


Kate Freeman said...

“Poor little Tink Tink. Think about that when you think you’re having a bad goddamn day.”

Anonymous said...

Oh, Kim, You ask unfair questions. We need a law to regulate the Mosley Protocol. H.

Emma Jane said...

So aren't the people using "Life's not fair" as an excuse for such things as Romney's tiny tax burden the same ones grumbling "You can't do THAT. THAT"s not fair!" when the discussion turns to increasing taxes?

Kim Mosley said...

I don't consider 18 million a tiny tax burden, even if it is only 15% of his income. I think that taxes should relate to services, and not be a means of taking from the rich and giving to the poor. (Re)distribution is one means to improve the means of the poor. But there are others that are more win-win situations.

Emma Jane said...

Like giving them back the jobs they lost when Romney bankrupted their companies for his own personal gain? :)

I like your photographs, Kim. Especially the one of your shadow.

Kim Mosley said...

Em, Anyone who is hired to save companies, like any doctor, is not going to be able to help all of them. Romney did well which was evidenced by the money he made. But he had some failures. The net gain was far more jobs than when he started. It is unfortunate when people lose jobs, and more unfortunate when they can't find a new one. Rather than the government creating jobs (like digging ditches by hand as the Chinese does), I'd rather see better education to enable more to do work that is needed. Kim

Emma Jane said...

I tried to reply, but I think my reply disappeared. Okay, so I was demonizing Romney. But isn't saying you're seeking "win-win" situations another way of saying you're seeking situations that are more Fair? Isn't that what we all want? I mean, we might have different ideas about what fair means, but I don't think many people have really surrendered to life's unfairness. My idea of Fair might be to collect every penny in the U.S. and redistribute it evenly among the population and your idea might be to fund education so people don't have to dig ditches by hand in China, but isn't some form of "Fair" what we're both wanting?

Kim Mosley said...

Good point. I'm going to have to think about that.

Anonymous said...

Fair should be abolished from the vocabulary. It isn't fair that we were born in this country, but as such every one of us has more than 99.9% of everyone who has ever lived on earth. If we don't have more in terms of wealth, we have more in terms of opportunity. I see many people squandering that opportunity, just as I see athletes squander fortunes that are given to them because they happen to be more gifted than the rest of us. People should find something else to worry about than fairness. We all have the same 24 hrs in a day and some of us take advantage of that more than others. The slow gazelle gets eaten by the lion. Quit whining and run.