Rule number one in economics:
All economies are unfair.
This rule, as with most economic rules, falls under the “reality is harsh” heading. Much blood has flowed in attempts to break this rule, and it’s obvious that we’re not anywhere near done. Yet, after all the blood letting, there stands all those unfair economies. So what’s going on here?
The one problem I’ll discuss here is undefined terms. In this case, the term is “fair”. Consider a kitchen table. If someone looks at it and asks, “What’s that”, and another answers,” Well, it’s certainly not a chair”, the question wasn’t answered satisfactorily. Yet, still, the answer was true. The fact remains that one could possibly go on for days saying what the table isn’t, all the while speaking true answers, yet never answering.
The truth is that a table is a table, and a chair is not a table. This truth is not subject to opinion. Fair, on the other hand, is very much subjective. We have a president claiming that some are not paying their fair share in taxes. But he is not pointing to some objective standard as to what anyone’s fair share is. He’s only saying what he thinks it’s not.
Others say that it’s not fair that that person over there has so much more than I do. Again, this is an appeal to what is not fair while giving no indication as to what is fair. But even if “fair” is specified, those specifications can only be based on subjectivity. While a table will always be a table, what is fair for one is not always fair for another.
This is not to say that there exists no objective standard for fair in which, like a table is a table, fair is fair. It is to say that that standard is found outside of the self. It is in the self that such “standards” are confused with self-interest.