Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Opportunity Hoarding II: What Should Be Competitive?

Philosophy News image
Opportunity hoarding, a concept developed by Richard Reeves,  occurs when parents act to give their children advantages in ways that are harmful to other children. In the previous essay I examined income mobility in the context of opportunity hoarding and I now turn to the ethics of competition. Image Credit Before getting into this, I will try to pre-empt the obvious strawman attacks on what I will be arguing. I will not be arguing that parents should be generally forbidden from doing the best they can for their children. As a specific example, I will not be arguing in favor of anything like a ban on parents helping their children with homework. I will also not argue that the state should use its compulsive power to force, Harrison Bergeron style,  the equality of children. Nor will I argue for the elimination of competition. Now, on to the discussion—one that will afford plenty of opportunity for criticism. From a moral standpoint, the matter of opportunity hoarding raises two important moral concerns. The first is the moral issue of what opportunities should be a matter of competition. The second is the moral issue of what means are fair and what are foul within the realm of competition. This essay focuses on the first issue. While some might argue that there should be no competition for opportunities, this position suffers from two obvious defects. The first, and most obvious, is that in a finite world opportunity must always be limited. As such, if there are more people than opportunities, there must be competition—if only in the form of a lottery. This limit need not be anything malign. For example, many people might desire to be trained by a skilled running coach, but because of human limits she cannot coach everyone. As another example, many people might wish to learn at a specific university, but the faculty of the university can only grade so many students—even with the assistance of graders. While there obviously can be other. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: A Philosopher's Blog

blog comments powered by Disqus