Pura Vida

Life in full circle

Unequal or Unfair: Which Is Worse?

Inequality has become the subject du jour, but by focusing on issues of rich versus poor, are we missing an important underlying cause of the growing gap in income and wealth? Gaining a better understanding of the origins of fairness may be key to addressing issues of current inequality. Read More


Is is fair that Tibetans experienced first physical genocide and now cultural and economic genocide. No, yet I have yet to hear a high Tibetan monk play the victim role.

The first step in wisdom teachings is to accept life on life's terms and full responsibility for one's experience. This doesn't mean we don't try to change what needs to be changed or fight for a good cause.

But it does mean we make the effort to see circumstances from point of view of the forest and not just the tree.

For example if you throw reincarnation in the mix, Fairness starts to look very different.

Can we stand for goodness without blaming others or life.

I suppose the above author...

... would argue for the naturalness of slavery, the naturalness of killing off the invalid and inferior, and sterilizion as well.

All of those things happened yet many of those things we don't do anymore. The idea that things will 'always' be a certain way is hubris given that people who were formerly oppressed free'd themselves from people like the author.

The gene exception

"The point I have been trying to make is that inequality is the symptom; unfairness is the underlying disease."

This isn't true in the fied of genetics. When someone fails because of bad genes, the majority of people sees it as being "fair". If you really are concerned about well-being and happiness then you must consider inequalities in genetic capital as unfair as their social counterpart.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

David P. Barash, Ph.D., is an evolutionary biologist and professor of psychology at the University of Washington.


Subscribe to Pura Vida

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.