Equality of Outcome: What is it?

What is Equality of Outcome? Is Equality of Outcome important?

The society we are in today is not spared from countless problems. For a fact, one of the many issues that our society is facing nowadays is the misinterpreted concept that all of us should be equal.

You surely have heard lots of people complaining about the lack of diversity in the government, organization, firm, educational institution, politics, and so on.

What’s more, you might have incessantly heard plenty of complaints about salary differences, how men are compensated or promoted more than women, and other sorts of inequalities like these. 

Unfortunately, the illusion that all of us are equal in all things disregards the reality that there is a distinction between equality of outcome and equality of opportunity.

Equality of Outcome

What is Equality of Outcome?

The Equality of Outcome is also referred to as equality of results or equality of condition, equality of outcome is deemed an arguable political theory. While such a term is not often precisely detailed, it commonly depicts a state wherein people have roughly the same possession, or more generally, their general economic conditions are somewhat identical.

Chiefly, obtaining this entails eliminating or minimizing possession inequalities between individuals or households in a community. Not to mention, this could include a transfer of wealth or income from richer to poverty-stricken individuals.

Or, something that involves supporting organizations that are primarily established to uphold equality of results from the beginning. In addition to this, the idea is focused on some political beliefs and is regularly carried out in political dialogues.

Equality of outcome is the opposite of equality of opportunity. The former is more about equality in the central and substantial things in life.

Equality of Outcome vs. Equality of Opportunity

Equality of opportunity pertains to a theory that broadly illustrates “just competition” for significant positions and jobs in a way that competitors have fair opportunities to beat such positions.

Likewise, applicants are not hindered or evaluated by discretionary or unjust discrimination. Equality of opportunity calls for the elimination of discretionary discrimination in the selection process.

Such a term is typically exploited in workplace conditions; however, it has been employed in other fields too such as voting rights, lending, and housing.

The gist here is that job seekers are provided with a fair opportunity to contend within the structure of goals and the groundwork of rules established, conforming to a single judgment.  

In other words, it is widely viewed as a procedural value of “just treatment” by the rules.

Equality of opportunity is somewhat stimulated by the possibility of treating people fairly and is also somewhat propelled by the impairment of giving each individual the same, or equality of outcome. This is how equality of opportunity differentiates itself from equality of outcome.

To elaborate more on the differences, equality of outcome entails that individuals possess some share of goods, not only an opportunity to acquire them without the obstruction of some barriers.

For instance, a focus on outcomes with regards to literacy among young kids might appear appropriate, since it is more essential that kids become educated rather than the opportunity to read, which could be mislaid.

Nonetheless, a focus on outcomes might appear less conceivable in other cases, like in balancing the outcomes of standardized examinations. This is an additional concern to equality of outcome that it might restrain individuality leading to evenness of preferences, character, and ability.

Examples of statements of equality of opportunity to demonstrate the flexibility of this theory:

  • All White Americans should have an opportunity to obtain a college degree without the obstruction of gender discrimination.
  • All Americans should have an opportunity to obtain a college degree without the obstruction of racial discrimination.
  • All Americans should have an opportunity to obtain literacy without the obstruction of any impediment other than serious disability deterring the acquisition of literacy.

Example of Equality of Outcome

In a sewing garments factory, equality of outcome might convey that workers are all compensated equally regardless of how many sewn garments of approved quality they finished, which also means that workers cannot be terminated for finishing a very few garments of approved quality.

Is Equality of Outcome Bad?

Equality of income can be considered not a great idea in some aspects. It seems that its concept does not promote hard work because it incentivizes slacking. For example, in the workplace, workers won’t be motivated to work harder if they’re going to end up in the same position. It gives them the feeling and notion that working harder is unnecessary.

If everyone will have the same position, will you still study harder, will you still consider partaking in investment opportunities, will you still dream of being the better version of yourself? This conception will largely produce a slacking society where progress is impossible.

For all that, there is no denying that people globally start in different places. We cannot deny the fact that it is a must to do what we could to boost the opportunities that young children need to enjoy free access to literacy and education.

It is good that young parents and adults be provided with opportunities that could assist them to become better providers to their families, and set exemplary examples. Without any doubt, doing all these can bring about a notable flow-on effect on the community at large.

Regardless, we must not confuse people that there is such a thing as competing on a fair playing field. This is because if we all end up in the same position, what do you think will happen? Will there be no more chaos? Will it certainly benefit everyone?

In reality, everything will merely become more negative, pointless, and dangerous. Hence, we must not devalue the role of character and perpetual use of effort when it comes to our results.

The groundwork of present-day society was founded by farmers, and just like the farmers, we, too, must harvest what we sow.

Equality of Autonomy

This comparatively new conception, as type of hybrid belief, has been developed by a renowned philosopher named Amartya Sen. Such a theory can be perceived as “the capability and means to decide our life path must be circulated as fairly as possible across the community”.

Furthermore, it refers to a fair shot of opportunity or empowerment to work out our potentials instead of equal opportunities or equal goods.

This concept was defined as equality in the degree of empowerment that we need to come up with decisions that have significant influence in our lives.

It also involves the control and choice that we have given our circumstances in life. This theory entails active arbitration of institutions such as the state into people’s lives. However, the primary objective is to promote self-creation rather than our living conditions.

This conception asserts that the capability to transform incomes into opportunities is greatly influenced by a variety of people and social distinctions that imply some individuals will need more than others to accomplish the same extent of capabilities.

The Bottom Line

All things considered, in our society today, it is sad that the term “equality” has been poached to mean equality of outcome.

If you’re going to explore more about the definition of equality of outcomes, this conception appeals that everyone is considered equal. But, this is an absolute misconception.

The truth is, everyone is not equal. You can tell that we all have different potentials, strengths, and weaknesses. We are all unique. More importantly, the differences we possess should be celebrated, and not disregarded.

It would be more beneficial in the end if future leaders would work harder to encourage equality of opportunity so that all of us can thrive in the opportunities we are best fitted for. This is to avoid being solely subjected to the groundless and substantially flawed conception of equality of outcome.

What is Equality of Outcome

Equality of Outcome Article
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About the author

Jess Man

Jessica is the Editor-in-Chief and Senior Diversity Advisor at Diversity Social. Jessica has over 10 years of working with and advising employers to be more diverse and create an inclusive working environment.
Jessica's experience spans private and non-profit sectors in multiple industries.
Jessica's expertise experience is beyond Diversity & Inclusion, she is also a certified professional IT recruiter in Data & Analytics, Database administration, Artificial Intelligence area.