The Idea of Equality of Opportunity

The Idea of Equality of Opportunity

The idea of equality of opportunity is coupled to the liberal political thought. The principle refers to the situation in which people’s ambitions and efforts are not disenchanted by the biased disadvantages of ethnicity, class or gender. In many cases, opposing the principle of equality of opportunity appear unpalatable. Defining the equality of opportunity and finding out what it entails as Caney showed would lead to a variety of diverse conceptions with different implications. When people formally exercise the principle of equality of opportunity, the competition for the viable social and economic positions such as employment should always remain open to all the applicants. Supporters of the global equality of opportunity have always given pieces of responses to the criticisms formulated by different scholars and economic intellectuals. The opponents of the above principle would always suggest that difficult measurements should often be incorporated whereas the proponents would always suggest that objection to the idea do not count. Simon Caney has reiterated that criticisms about the principle of the equality of global opportunity are related to the difficulties that people usually encounter during its implementation. Caney also submitted that individuals should avoid the notion that the principle should enable equal access to the similar economic and social positions. Instead, they should create equal opportunities that would enable different persons to occupy social positions in equal measure and value in terms of incentives accorded to them.

Simon Caney's Arguments

Simon Caney arguments towards the idea of equality of opportunity appear straightforward; according to him, it is unfair and arbitrary for the ethnicity to dictate the life chances and not the nationality (Caney 2012, p.37). No individual chooses to be born in a particular ethnic group or race. Consequently, there is nobody who predetermines the gender associated with them. Simon Caney further argues that the idea of equality of opportunity is just as strong as the idea of domestic version. His argument contains insightful implications; in other words, people should exhibit equality when it comes to the opportunities that determine the course of the life of every individual. People should not be intimidated or denied opportunities on the basis of race or their affiliated tribes or ethnicity. The idea of equality of opportunity should, therefore, change the ways on how to administer educational system as well as access to essential resources. People or policymakers should always focus on creating equal opportunities for the positions that define the general standard of living. Caney maintains that the formal equality of opportunity should also relate to the liberation of economic activities as well as institutions from restrictions and privileges through the creation of competitive market economies. The world should be in such a way that the appointments to the jobs as well as government post should be done on merits and not on the basis of tribe, race or ethnicity. Through the adoption of Caney's idea about the global equality of ethnicity, economies are able to prosper. Caney’s argument is opposed to nepotism where jobs and other economic opportunities are awarded to the friends and relatives that in most cases, are not qualified to take such positions. The “formal equality of opportunity” is often applied interchangeably with the idea of “career open to talents.”

Challenges with the Global Equality of Opportunity

Caney's argument on global equality of opportunity has a limited scope. The application of the principle is public; it does not exist in private life of many individuals or groups of people. Determining where the difference in application exist is often a challenging process. The decisions can sometimes be made to such that it follows a wrongful prejudice. Caney argues that the global equality of opportunity is an idea that regulates civil and political society. It provides a platform where all members of a community can participate. The scope is, however, open to challenges as a result of diversities in the society. The domains of the idea of equality of opportunity are political; the preferences often enforced by the leaders leads to inequality in terms of job distribution and creation of opportunity for all. Failure by the governments to ensure the development of the formal societies usually leads to the emergence of politics of identities, a situation which frequently leads to ethnicity, tribalism as well as nepotism. The global equality of opportunities usually puts ethical constraints on economic decisions. According to Caney (Caney 2012, p.54), the principle is dishonored when the investors or the economies fail to invest in a company just because the manager or the Chief Executive Officer is from a specific ethnic group, race or is of a certain gender. If an individual runs a business and offers services or products to the public, Caney argues that it is a violation of the principle of global equality of opportunity if they refuse to offer their products to specific groups of people or the potential customers on the basis of their ethnicity or tribe. Caney reaffirms that the idea of global equality of opportunity often puts a lot of constrains on the purchasing behaviors of the customers. Most businesses operate successfully in the diverse environments characterized by different ethnic groups. Providing opportunities for such groups often lead to the successful operation of a business venture. When people are given privileges in the most prominent positions, they usually tend to create suitable environments for the workers as well as their colleagues. There is always lack of substantial reasons on why a specific group of people should be appointed in a specific position both in the government and in other institutions. The positions should always be open and they should be given to people who best qualified to undertake the tasks.

Nationality and Global Equality of Opportunity

Simon Caney stipulates that people from different nationalities should be subjected to same opportunities and no individual should be discriminated based in their country of origin. The idea of nationality should act as a factor that brings progressive ideas, it should not act as a barrier that stops people from achieving what is important to them. In most cases, the progressive state of the world are the ones that consider every individual as important. With the increased seclusion of people on the basis of their race, nationality or tribe, economic progress often becomes a challenging process. The above situation interferes with chances of establishing equal job opportunities. Nationality a factor that creates social, economic and political inequalities. It influenced decision making that leads to the appointments of different personalities in various positions both on governments and private sectors. Caney argues that careful examination of the advantages of global equality of opportunities will leads to an integrated and progressive economic environment where every person can take part in the process of decision making. On the other hand, it can also facilitate global justice by encouraging people to accept the contribution of each person in the society.

The Principle of Global Equality of Opportunity

The principle of global equality of opportunity is a superior approach based on the resources (Caney 2012, p.41). In most cases, it is attuned, moreover, with the institutions that conform to the standpoint of justice. The idea enables people, organizations as well as governmental institutions to live up to the demands of the society. Institutions are the best helpful tools capable of ensuring the implementation of the idea of the principle. The institutions also create foundational forms of human liaisons that leads to specific moral obligations. The principle of global equality of opportunities is meant to eradicate the inequalities that on the other hand could be inherited by different generations in the society. It attempts to integrate the society by enhancing the relationship of people from diverse origin. In most cases, it is true that the world consists of different kinds of people, accepting and appreciating everyone is a great step that can aid in mitigating the differences that exist amongst the populations. Following Caney's arguments and putting them into practice would aid in establishing an environment where people associate and understand each other. Caney looks forward to an environment where individuals do not intimidate each other on the basis of their ethnic group, tribe or race; he tries to influence the society by creating a pool of mindset capable of enhancing an inclusive and progressive society. The development of economies requires strong collaboration between different stakeholders which in most cases, involves diverse individuals from different origins. In following the Caney's perceptions of global equality of opportunities people are capable of achieving uniform social progress in different societies.


Caney, S., 2012. Just emissions. Philosophy " Public Affairs, 40(4), pp.255-300.

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