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Taya Wall


Taya es estudiante de la Universidad Simon Fraser y estudia filosofía, desarrollo comunitario sostenible y relaciones internacionales. Fue presentada a Filosofía para niños a través de la Dra. Susan Gardner, y durante sus años de trabajo en los campamentos de verano Thinking Playground ha desarrollado su pasión por trabajar con niños y, especialmente, ¡enseñar filosofía!

Taya trabaja en el sector sin fines de lucro y se dedica al trabajo de ayuda internacional, centrándose en causas sociales como la igualdad de género y el intercambio cultural.

Taya aporta su deseo de justicia y equidad a su facilitación, fomentando un entorno de aprendizaje seguro, emocionante y estimulante. Con experiencia en yoga y atención plena, aborda la enseñanza de los niños con compasión, alegría y creatividad.

The challenge of inequity:

How to negotiate a world of “haves” and “have-nots”

The world will always be one of “haves” and “have nots.” Whether the measurement is wealth, power, health, honour, education, attentive parenting, nourishing food, clean water, physical ability, artistic ability, brain power, intimacy, friendships, tribal association, or even sheer luck, there will always be those who are in a “better” position than others.


For much of human history, this sort of inequity was taken as a given—a fact of life that is true of all animate nature. However, as reflection on the human condition became more prominent, arguments that some forms of inequity, particularly economic inequity, can be ameliorated began to emerge—with Marxism, perhaps, being the most notable.


While the radical economic equity anticipated by early Marxists never found solid footing, nonetheless, many people have embraced the belief that attempting to alleviate economic inequity is a worthy goal.


This is the topic of the present paper. We will begin by first noting that “inequity aversion” is an attitude that is shared with some higher primates. After then noting that Plato advocated a society in which inequity is “built in,” and that societies have lived for centuries on the backbone of class and caste systems, we will explore why persistent inequity in a democratic society which is founded on the assumption of socioeconomic mobility can provoke a tsunami of negative emotions, including the sort of virtue signalling that does little to ameliorate the problem, but a lot to destabilize the foundations on which a democratic society is built. 


This will then lead us to the question of how best one ought to respond if, on the one hand, one finds inequity intolerable, but on the other, recognizes that furiously denouncing inequity does little to solve the problem but much to threaten the very foundation on which the possibility of living with democratically fuelled “less inequity” is founded.

We will begin first by stressing that economic inequity is just one amongst a gazillion wicked problems that humans face and, since we all benefit from a division of labour, we ought not to feel guilty, nor are we justifiably shamed, for not focusing our energies on this one issue. However, for those whose passion is indeed to attempt to alleviate the worst harms of economic inequity, we will then review several studies that suggest that recognizing how people subjectively register economic inequity will be important if one is to attract others to the cause. We will then reflect on the work by Charles Taylor who suggests that to be effective, change-makers must strive to articulate a positive vision that speaks to the collective imagination—to give voice to a message that has the intentional potential to attract many from across the political/social spectrum to the cause. This will be followed by a brief overview on how to distinguish between “cheap talk” and “costly signals” so as to avoid being weighed down by freeloaders who want to own the talk but not do the walk. We will then make a case, leaning on the works of Viktor Frankl, that it is important for us all to learn how to be tragically optimistic even in the face of wicked problems—a personality trait that modern-day academics often refer to as “grit.” Finally, it will be argued that it is crucial for educators, who are inevitably in the trenches since they are helping to mold the next generation of change-makers, to educate so that their charges not only get into the habit of dialoguing across difference and so acquire the skill to speak to the collective imagination, but as well, that they educate for optimism of the tragic sort—a way to being in the world that arms individuals with the “grit” to do their part in helping to move humanity toward an ever brighter future—even in the face of potentially discouraging challenges. 

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