Fairness

Why Equal Opportunity Doesn’t Work

Because each of us is different. We all have different levels of skill, discipline, and commitment, and these also vary across fields. That’s basically why.

Imagine leaving a bunch of people, each in a separate room for six months, give them equal amounts of food, have them in a similar environment, and only give them a guitar, for example. A tiny percentage would love the opportunity of playing the guitar every day, some will like it, play a little and then give up, and the majority would not know what to do with that instrument. By the end of the experiment, the musical abilities of the group will have changed, with the people who practiced everyday (who already had better musical abilities than the rest) having improved much more than those who didn't practice. The difference in skill would be bigger than before, and their qualification in the field of music would therefore be completely different by the end of the experiment.

A similar thing would happen if you put the same people with say, painting materials, we would have a different set of people taking up painting and practicing, and our musicians might not improve a bit in painting because they might not be interested in that.

This is always happening in markets. We never have equal opportunity anyway, but even if we managed to create it in a perfect world, quickly that equilibrium will be disrupted by people’s different abilities.

It’s not only about ability, many people don’t want to be at a certain level of pressure, or responsibility, or risk certain things in their lives, so the opportunities go to the people who do. I think we should simply hope for fair, as opposed to equal opportunity, which is much easier said than done. Giving the people who have the skill, ability, and desire certain privileges, and allowing everyone to evolve at their own pace is better in my opinion.

Remember that the elite in a certain field are mere followers in other fields where others lead them. It’s not an absolute system.