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    Default Why people prefer unequal societies

    Why people prefer unequal societies
    Christina Starmans*, Mark Sheskin and Paul Bloom

    From the Department of Psychology at Yale University published in 2017, a Springer article.


    Placed in the Mind Control section for good reason (Passing thought: perhaps we need a Social Sciences sub-forum though?)

    The findings in this research paper which cites dozens of examples in its source literature throws up a fair welter of very astute and factually pertinent things to consider here, and in many ways may serve as a grounding point around which to pivot while we get to grips with the ideological subversion raging around us.

    I could have posted extracts on a number of threads really, particularly those that are currently more popularly trying to tackle real or perceived inequalities. One of the most pervasive ills in our societies, in my opinion, is the conflation of *equality with fairness. In fact, conflation in general, and next to no good understanding of, or familiarity with dialectics; a big problem.

    (* - equality: and of course the inability to discern the difference between outcome and opportunity.)

    Putting that thought to one side for a moment though, here are a sample of paragraphs from this paper:

    "However, to our knowledge, none of these researchers have made the specific claim we wish to make here: that there is no empirical evidence so far that people have any aversion to inequality itself.

    We suggest that the perception that there is a preference for equality arises through an undue focus on special circumstances, often studied in the laboratory, where inequality and unfairness coincide. In most situations, however, including those involving real-world distributions of wealth, people’s concerns about fairness lead them to favour unequal distributions."

    "Thus, the data suggest that when it comes to real-world distributions of wealth, people have a preference for a certain amount of inequality."

    "This preference for inequality materializes in 16 other countries, across people on both the left and right of the political spectrum, and in teenagers. As Norton puts it, “people exhibit a desire for unequality—not too equal, but not too unequal”


    "There are also political and cultural differences. Norton and Ariely found that women, Democrats, and the poor desired relatively more equal distributions than men, Republicans, and the wealthy, and were also more accurate in estimating the extent of current inequality. Or consider that a recent survey of wealthy technology entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley found that all predicted that a strict meritocracy, where everyone’s income was strictly proportional to their productivity, would result in an extremely unequal society, with the top 10% earning more than 50% of the nation’s wealth. This intuition is probably considerably more extreme than one would find in a more typical sample. Looking outside of the United States and Europe, it is clear that there are wide differences in fairness concerns across world cultures."


    "Nevertheless, inequality in a society also predicts a greater degree of violence, obesity, teenage pregnancy, and interpersonal distrust. Areas of the United States with high income inequality also tend to have higher divorce and bankruptcy rates than areas with more egalitarian income distributions and they suffer from higher homicide rates. Similar negative effects show up in laboratory studies with simulated public goods games in which the extent of inequality is set by the researchers—when the inequities are made salient, there is less cooperation and inter-connectedness."


    The closing paragraph:

    "The recognition that fairness and equality are different cannot merely be a footnote on empirical studies and cannot be a rarely invoked piece of trivia in political conversations that wrestle with unfairness but frame the conversation in terms of equality. Progress in the lab and in the real world will be facilitated by centring the discussion on exactly what people do care about—fairness—and not on what people do not care about—equality."

    I'd put this in the library quite some months ago now and you should hopefully be able to access it here.

    Last edited by Tintin; 24th June 2020 at 17:34.
    “If a man does not keep pace with [fall into line with] his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” - Thoreau

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