Equal opportunity (was Re: Will the free market solve

J. de Lyser (gd33463@glo.be)
Tue, 25 Feb 1997 02:39:58 +0100

At 17:37 24-02-97 -0500, micheal lorrey wrote:

>It is not true that they hold this beleif. Libertarians beleive in
>equality of opportunity, NOT equality of result. Libertarians beleive >in
economic forces unleashed to allow natural selection to proceed
>unimpeded to improve the human condition.

>I personally tend to think that children should be raised in equal
>social circumstances, to allow as close to an equal level of >opportunity
as possible, but once they reach whatever is considered
> "adulthood",they live by TANSTAAFL.

And how would you accomplish this, by taking away children from their
parents ? I think an equal chances education system (based on capacities,
not finances) is the best way to guarantee an equal starting position. And
yes, from there on i agree they're on their own...

Human labor is the greatest resource we have on this planet. Educating that
human resource is going to multiply its value enormously. Making sure the
people with the capacity end up taking the right places in society, is
instrumental to the success of a system. A complete laissez faire system
will favor those with money, before those with the capacity. The problem is
here that emotions from the parents are involved, which go against the
rational theory of the free market solution. Education based on capacities
rather than based on the financial situation of the parents will avoid this
problem. A little extra financial backing from parents like tutoring,
summer schools etc is not a big problem i think. It's the big picture i'm
looking at.

Problem is how to finance such an educational system without falling back
on state-like practices. Ideas anyone ? Auto-financing schools involving
child labor seems more than a little unethical ? However it's not such a
bad idea to pay children for good school results, it will make them get
used to the system they eventually get thrown into from the protective
situation they were in before. Maybe parents of children who perform good,
should pay less for education, and parents of children who perform bad
should pay more ? Again ethical problems arise..

>Making everyone start at zero once they reach adulthood is what I >would
call equality of opportunity, but redistributing the wealth >isn't, its
penalizing success.

There's more to opportunity than just ones financial background. A great
deal of chance is involved. The product of ones genetical and environment
influences is highly subjected to that. Which is why i don't think starting
at zero would make that much of a difference.

Again you're forgetting the emotional side here, Parents will help their
children, and why shouldn't they ? I'm not worried at all about the extra
chances a financial situation of parents gives a kid, as long as the poor
kids get a chance to compete based on equal chances in education. (note not
equal education: equal chances)

Your suggestion still is sort of a redistribution of wealth (the starting
at zero), be it in a more limited version, it will be very difficult to
impose without touching individual freedom (that of the parents). Having
just an educational guarantee, is more scaled down, and will guarantee
survival systems almost as efficient. The problem is ofcourse who pays for
that education. I'm still looking at that one ;-)

J. de Lyser