Why imposing equality backfires?
Suppose a class teacher resolves to do away with all inequality in students’ marks. So they decide to average the marks of all the students and assign that score to everyone in the class. Will that lead to a good score for everyone? No. Far from it, everyone’s score will go down.
Why? Because no one will feel sufficiently motivated to work hard enough for getting good marks. Bright students who can get high scores will think, “Even if I work hard and do well in the exam, I will just get the average score. Why bother to work hard?” And mediocre students will think, “Even if I don’t study and do poorly in the exam, I will still get the average score. Why bother to study?”
Imposed equality was tried at a national level in communist countries, with disastrous results. Attempts to redistribute wealth equally left everyone with paucity. Why? Because the whole effort presumed erroneously that wealth existed readymade, just waiting to be distributed more fairly. Actually, wealth has to be generated by human effort and ingenuity. Even if wealth comes directly from nature, as in agriculture, it still requires hard work; farming is not for the lazy. If humans are not motivated to work hard, wealth isn’t generated, and everyone ends up with less.
Put metaphorically in terms of the Bhagavad-gita (18.37), we have to go through the poison of austerity before we can get to the nectar of satisfaction. That is, we need to endure hard work before we can get abundance. Imposing equality takes away everyone’s motivation to work hard and thus wealth goes down, both individually and socially.
If we want human society to prosper, we need to inspire people to individually take responsibility for working hard, thereby unleashing their God-given ability and creativity.
Imposing equality doesn’t lead everyone to plenty; it leads everyone to scarcity.
Think it over:
- Why does imposing equality in a classroom backfire?
- What is the misconception underlying attempts for wealth redistribution?
- How can human society prosper?
18.37: That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness.
To know more about this verse, please click on the image
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