Equality: achievable utopia or idealistic dream?

Written by Callum Williams

Most people want equality – or so they think anyway. Ideologically, nearly all of us want it, but practically none of us really want it. Not convinced? Of course you aren’t. You don’t want to admit it. None of us do. But why?

We like to think we want equality because it makes us feel better about ourselves – a bit selfish, don’t you think? Why don’t we truly want equality? Well, it is simple: because equality is equal opportunities for everyone. If we had genuine equality, our quality of live would be reduced. This is especially prevalent as we live in a developed country.

The easiest way to explain this is with an example.

At the moment, women are statistically less likely to get high-paid jobs. A lot of men might want the world to be a meritocracy and for women to get equal job opportunities, but in reality why would men want that? If women can get higher paid jobs as well, there is more competition, so men are less likely to get a high-paid job. It is counter-intuitive to lessen our own prospects, and we are human, which means we are selfish.

If you say you truly want equality, you are either deluded or not human.

No-one would be prepared to forgo their quality of life to give others the same opportunities.

So, we really might think we want equality, but we don’t – not truly.

Equality is a good thing to strive for, but ultimately it is unachievable. That will never change. Feeling a bit depressed now? Probably a good thing… It shows you are as a good a person as a human ever can be.

Verdict: idealistic dream

About the author

Callum Williams


  • I disagree with your thoughts on as humans we are inherently selfish and that no one would give up their quality of life for someone else to have a better one. Charity workers in warzones for example. Their quality of life is not exactly stellar and they are trying to make other people’s lives more tolerable. That seems pretty selfless.

  • Interesting perspective, however, do you not agree, that whilst we may all be selfish to some extent, we can still believe in, and strive to achieve, equality even if it means reduced quality of life for the privileged in the short term? I am sure many of us would be more than happy to face slightly greater struggles on a daily basis in order to allow everyone an equal chance to progress. Better still, not all aspects of equality need to be detrimental to ourselves. The legalisation of same-sex marriage, for example, came at no cost to those who do not intend to marry someone of the same gender. So why must all aspects of equality be seen to come with a price?

  • That’s a really interesting opinion – on the subject of gender equality, what do you think of the idea that it benefits both men and women? For example, when women finally stop being seen/treated as the “weaker” sex, men will be able to express themselves more freely, without being bullied or harassed for being “too feminine”?

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