Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Perception of Being Fair..

The thought occurred to me at the traffic lights..two kids asking for money appeared from no where...both contending to get something from me. I wanted to be fair with them trying to give them both something in equality.

I think being fair is a funny illusion. Yes, it's one of the most useful illusions..but’s an illusion. [usefulness of illusions is not what I'm trying to make out here..lets leave that for now..]

Just imagine, trying to divide 10 similar toys between two kids. You'll probably end up giving 5 toys to each kid and will suffer from this illusion of being fair. The kids would also probably agree with the arrangement(free will theory you know) and the illusion of fairness would work just fine.

Now the question five toys per each child actually fair?

Dont we wish/need to know how many toys each kid already owns? What if one kid already has hundreds of them and the other has none?
If you have studied economics, u'll conclude that marginal utility of an extra toy is way much higher for the toy-poor kid.

Shouldn't their different level of enthusiasm for toys also come into the picture?
Remember, you're trying to be fair with their happiness ...and not their toys.

Just in case...what if one of the kids loves toys 'n' times higher than the other...How would you be fair in that case?
I'll, probably end up giving most of the toys to the kid who doesn’t enjoy them as much. The theory being...he'll need more toys to obtain the same level of happiness as the toy lover gets with one...:)
[..Of course this solution would cause one of the kids to melt-down..coz it wouldn’t have the illusion of fairness]

Even further...this simplest example of fairness falls apart when you put it under scrutiny.
Luckily, most of the people are they'll imagine fairness where none exists..otherwise nothing would ever get done :)

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