From a social workers perspective, the notion that inequality is necessary might almost be laughable, but a person can structure some logical arguments if they so choose.
A post in The League of Ordinary Gentlemen looks at Why Inequality Is Necessary. It could be argued that disparity leads to opportunity which generates motivation for work. This same person might argue that without reward motivation,s the only other motivating factor is fear. This type of argument is common, and I’ve wrestled with it through much of my life. It’s not that I think the analysis is wrong; I have come to these conclusions in my younger days. it’s that it leaves out some very basic, fundamental human emotions. Where does love and compassion enter in? As social workers, we know all too well that love is also a motivating factor. All too often a person, who makes the greed/fear argument, tries to reduce love to a reward. The possibility of true selflessness just does not enter into the equation. This is a very individualistic/American way to view things. Other cultures do not always take this stance. Some cultures actively try to cultivate love and compassion by expanding the scope of self toward the group as a whole. I hope that makes some sense. I think it does. Love in this sense is more then reward, it is fulfillment of the identity that one chooses.
We hold up the selfless person as an ideal to reach. One look at a comic book, or the newest action movies, will show you that the characters we root for are those who sacrifice of themselves. Our culture betrays our desire to be surrounded by those who take it upon themselves to care for others. We get tripped up when we actually try to bring those ideals into our Capitalist society. So much of our time is spent worrying that another will taker advantage of us, or buying into the notion that life is simply survival of the fittest. I think our intuition on this matter speaks to the contrary. If we boil human motivation down to factors that leave out love, then we are going to be left with the conclusion of the author. On the other hand, when love returns to the argument, we are left with the possibility that a person might actually want to sacrifice of themselves for another. In other words, equality is their fundamental motivation. Greed and fear make inequality inevitable, love restores the balance.
**Written by Matthew Cohen – SJS Staff Writer **
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