You have to agree on worth before you can talk about equality

Today I wrote this in answer to a comment on my post…

To be honest, I do not believe most of the things that I argued in the above post. Truth be told, I would never seriously argue about equality at all. I only wrote the post for the fun of playing devil’s advocate.

To me it is absurd to talk about equality because equality means different things to different people. You can not determine what is equal to what until you first determine what the value of things are. The thing that bothers me about people who talk about “equality” generally and Charlie Whitaker post in particular is that they don’t even recognizes the assumptions about values that they make in order to determine what is equal and what is not.

For example, people like Charlie Whitaker typically look at income as being the primary measure of how “equal” a country is. By his measure, I am one of the people in America who suffer from its great inequality. I am an uneducated blue collar male who works in the trades. Yet I feel that a lot of people who make double or triple what I make are far worse off then I am.

For example, if I really wanted to, I could almost certainly get a job in New York City that pays double what I am making right now. And I might even be able to do better then that.

But from my perspective, such a move would be huge lowering of my living standards. Here I can buy decent house and some land on what I make. In New York City I could make triple what I make and still only be able to rent a small apartment.

To me, making that trade off is inconceivable. But other people who value whatever it is that people value about New York City might make that trade off in a heart beat.

Given that people have such wildly different choices based on different values how can you use income to measure equality?

What is equal to you is not equal to me. That is what tends to turn all arguments about equality into a farce.

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