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“Equality” chapter of Class 11 Political Science explains the concepts including different political philosophies such as socialism, Marxism, feminism, and liberalism; the significance of equality, what is equality, various dimensions of equality, etc.
Some people argue that inequality is natural while others maintain that it is equality which is natural and inequalities which we notice around us are created by society. Which view do you support? Give reasons.
Some people argue that inequality is natural because nature has endowed different men with different capacities. One individual is born with the genius of a poet, another with that of a musician, a third with that of an engineer. The vast majority do not possess special aptitude of any kind. But in our opinion equality is natural and inequalities which we notice around us are created by society. The concept of equality implies that all people, as human beings are equal. Hence, they all are entitled to the same rights and opportunities to develop their skill and to achieve their goals. Social inequalities are created by society.
There is a view that absolute economic equality is neither possible nor desirable. It is argued that the most a society can do is to try and reduce the gaps between the richest and poorest members of society. Do you agree?
The popular meaning of equality is that all men are equal, that all should get equal income and equal treatment. We fully agree with the view that absolute economic equality is neither possible nor desirable. Absolute equality of wealth or income has never existed in a society. There is not a single country in the world where absolute economic equality exists. Even in Communist countries like China, North Korea, etc., Communists have not succeeded in establishing absolute economic equality. Laski defines economic equality in a limited sense as consisting in equal opportunities for everyone to develop his natural faculties and power. With equal opportunities, inequalities may continue to exist between individuals but there is the possibility of improving one’s position in society with sufficient efforts and determination. The government must try to reduce great inequalities in wealth. The concentration of property in the hands of a few is fatal to the purposes of the state and the socialists are right in insisting that either the state must dominate property or property will dominate the state. Economic equality can exist, when all people have reasonable economic opportunities to develop themselves. Adequate scope for employment, reasonable wages, adequate leisure and other economic rights create economic equality. Means of production and distribution should be controlled in such a way that they stand for public welfare. In a nutshell, economic equality means that there should not exist wide gaps of income among the members of society. Wealth should not concentrate only in a few hands. Gross inequalities of wealth should not exist at all. Everybody should have economic minimum.
Match the following concepts with appropriate instances :
- Affirmative action
- Equality of opportunity
- Equal Rights
1. (b) 2. (c) 3. (a)
A government report on farmers’ problems says that small and marginal farmers cannot get good prices from the market. It recommends that the government should intervene to ensure a better price but only for small and marginal farmers. Is this recommendation consistent with the principle of equality ?
Recommendation of government report that the government should intervene to ensure better price for small farmers is consistent with the principle of equality because small farmers cannot compete with big farmers. Hence, government intervention to help small farmers is in ccordance with the principle of equality.
Which of the following violates the principle of equality? Why?
- Every child in class will read the text of the play by turn.
- The Government of Canada encouraged white Europeans to migrate to Canada from the end of the Second World War till 1960.
- There is a separate railway reservation counter for senior citizens.
- Access to some forest areas is reserved for certain tribal communities.
Encouragement to white Europeans to migrate to Canada is a violation of the principle of equality because it is a clear-cut case of discrimination on the basis of race and colour.
Here are some arguments in favour of the right to vote for women. Which of these are consistent with the idea of equality ? Give reasons.
- Women are our mothers. We shall not disrespect our mothers by denying them the right to vote.
- Decisions of the government affect women as well as men, therefore, they also should have a say in choosing the rulers.
- Not granting women the right to vote will cause disharmony in the family.
- Women constitute half of humanity. You cannot subjugate them for long by denying them the right to vote.
- Not consistent with principle of equality.
- Consistent with principle of equality.
- Consistent with principle of equality because both women and men should be given right to vote.
- Consistent with principle of equality because it is democratic. If women are not given the right to vote, a large section of the population will remain unrepresented in the government and democracy will not be a success.