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Formal Equality of Opportunity Formal equality of opportunity requires that positions and posts that confer superior advantages Equality of opportunity be open to all applicants. Applications are assessed on their merits, and the applicant deemed most qualified according to appropriate criteria is offered the position.
Alternatively, applicants are winnowed by fair competition, and the winner or winners get the superior advantages. Formal equality of opportunity might obtain in a variety of social settings. As defined here, this ideal Equality of opportunity not presuppose that the production and distribution of goods and services are organized through a market economy with private ownership.
For example, an autocratic society, in which economic life is organized by the commands of the autocrat, could satisfy equality of opportunity to this extent: Moreover, the autocrat might organize economic life and distribute economic rewards by fair competitions.
A communist society, in which political, social, and economic privileges accrue to communist party members, might conceivably be run in such a way that communist party membership is determined by competitive examination. If the examination were set so that the person who earns a top score is the best qualified for the post of party membership, and that person is offered party membership, formal equality of opportunity would be satisfied.
The ideal of formal equality of opportunity is associated with the liberation of economic practices and institutions from guild privileges and restrictions and with the development of competitive market economies. A market economy conforms to formal equality of opportunity only if jobs offered by business firms are publicized in advance, so that anyone who might want to apply has a reasonable opportunity to do so.
In this setting formal equality of opportunity also requires that applications from anyone are accepted, applications are judged on their merits, and the most qualified according to criteria that are relevant to job performance are offered positions.
A variant practice in which only current employees of a firm are eligible to apply to higher-level jobs might be deemed to satisfy equal opportunity provided entry-level jobs in the firm are open to all applicants.
In addition, equal opportunity in a market setting requires that the lending of money for investment purposes by banks should proceed by accepting applications from any interested party and deciding who should get loans according to the expected profit of lending to one rather than another of the various applicants.
Equality of opportunity also requires that the access of economic firms to investment and operating capital by borrowing money through sales of bonds and through sales of shares in the ownership of the enterprise stocks should occur through processes that give all firms and economic agents the same opportunities for gain.
More generally, equality of opportunity in the market setting requires that firms and individuals deal with one another impartially as opportunities for gain.
The ideal of formal equality of opportunity has limited scope. Its sphere of application is public life, not private life.
Where to draw this line between public and private for this purpose is itself an unsettled and controversial issue. Certainly decisions about whom to invite to be a dinner guest, whom to regard as a potential date or marriage partner, whom to cultivate with a view to forming a personal friendship are not decisions that fall within the sphere of equality of opportunity.
This is not to deny that such decisions can be made in a way that reflects wrongful prejudice. This surely happens, and is morally criticizable. But equality of opportunity as normally understood is a norm that regulates a political and civil society, a common life in which all members participate, rather than every aspect of the conduct of individual lives.
However, this scope restriction is open to challenge. The idea of equality of opportunity tends also to be limited in scope along another dimension. Its domains are political societies or nation-states taken one at a time.
If all Austrian universities are open to all Austrian youth and all Chinese universities are open to all Chinese youth, it is not ordinarily thought to be objectionable if Austrian universities are not open to Chinese and Chinese universities are not open to the Austrians.
Thus limited in scope, formal equality of opportunity would be compatible with far greater educational opportunity being available to Austrian than to Chinese youth. However, nothing prevents broadening the scope of application of equality of opportunity. For example, one might uphold the ideal of a global marketplace in which all transactions conform to formal equality of opportunity applied world-wide.
It should be noted that formal equality of opportunity so understood puts moral constraints on market decisions.
Equality of opportunity is violated if investors decline to invest in a company just because its CEO is a black, or a woman, and they are prejudiced against blacks and women. If one operates a business and provides a product or service to the public for sale, formal equality of opportunity is violated if one refuses to sell to some class of potential customers on grounds that are whimsical no sales to people with brown hair, or wearing black shoes or prejudiced no sales to people of some disfavored race, religion, or skin color.
By the same token, the ideal of formal equal opportunity puts constraints on the behavior of customers of firms and purchasers of goods and services as well as constraints on would-be providers.
If a Jewish individual starts a business and people decline to purchase goods from her in virtue of the fact that she is Jewish, formal equality of opportunity is violated. In the same way, to refuse to purchase a product on the ground that its manufacture employed the labor of women in skilled jobs violates formal equality of opportunity.
Suppose the owner of a small business hires her family members or friends instead of advertising job openings and picking among the applicants according to the merits of their applications.Equality of Opportunity obtains when agents have a chance to attain the same goal(s) without the hindrance of the same obstacle(s).
Here are some examples of statements of equality of opportunity to illustrate the flexibility of the concept. All Americans should have a chance to attain a college degree without the hindrance of racial discrimination.
The Department for Work and Pensions is committed to providing services which embrace diversity and that promote equality of opportunity. Equality Act (c. 15) v CHAPTER 4 SUPPLEMENTARY 81 Ships and hovercraft 82 Offshore work 83 Interpretation and exceptions PART 6 EDUCATION CHAPTER 1 SCHOOLS 84 Application of this Chapter 85 Pupils: admission and treatment, etc.
Equality Act , Section 4 is up to date with all changes known to be in force on or before 16 November There are changes that may be brought into force at a future date.
Changes that have been made appear in the content and are referenced with annotations. Revised legislation carried on. Gender Equality - 12 activities. Activities, Quizzes, Games and Case studies for embedding Gender Equality into the Curriculum. These entertaining and thought provoking activities give participants the opportunity to experience and/or discuss gender discrimination issues from different viewpoints and consider how gender stereotyping may unwittingly influence subject choice, their career path.
Equality of opportunity is a political ideal that is opposed to caste hierarchy but not to hierarchy per se.
The background assumption is that a society contains a hierarchy of more and less desirable, superior and inferior positions.
Or there may be .