Fairness is a universal value. So why all this inequity? | Dr. Monica Sharma
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Fairness is a universal value. So why all this inequity? | Dr. Monica Sharma


We’ve generally worked on problems by looking
at how can we solve the problem. But that’s very much a fix it mindset. Here’s a problem and what can we do to solve
it? And technology, advances in technology, have
enabled us to do that. And is that important? Of course it is. It’s necessary but it’s not sufficient. So how can we solve problems in an enduring
way, in an equitable way, in a way where nobody really loses? Because too often we look at an issue from
a scarcity mindset and frankly we have an abundant planet and we have people with so
much creativity, can we engage that way differently? So that’s what this journey is about, awakening
the space within me and within everybody else. And it’s about awakening and articulating
what we see through our pattern mind. And third, it’s about solving problems through
that space. It’s not about fixing it. And what’s amazing is that people have innate
attributes worldwide and neuroscience and recent research shows that. What we can see is that human beings have
a sense of self, their own self-worth which we often talk about as dignity. So, they have a sense of self worldwide. It doesn’t matter whether we are rich or we
are poor, whether we follow any faith or whether we vote for a particular political party. This transcends all those divides the social
isms that we’ve created. So basically the sense of self-worth exists
and the sense of fairness exists worldwide. And so very often to people ask me what is
it that there’s so much inequity in the world and you say that we have an innate sense of
fairness. In fact Oxfam did a study in the U.S. and
they found that 92 percent of people actually believe that fairness is important. How great is that? So then people would say how come there’s
so much inequity? I think a lot of the inequities stems from
our understanding of what we need. Much of that is promoted through creating
demand for things we actually don’t need through a consumerism that’s extremely materialistic. And this work is about touching that space. And this work is also about the third attribute,
and that is compassion. What we know now is that people are not only
functioning from their emotional state, what neuroscientists or a physician will call our
limbic system. And our emotional reactions, not that emotion
is not important, it’s important, but we have a higher consciousness and activating that
consciousness that exists in everyone everywhere, and I can give you many, many stories from
around the world about that, when we activate that space of our higher consciousness we
bring to bear our innate sense of self, our sense of fairness, our compassion. So compassion there’s a lovely Sanskrit descriptive
word, Sanskrit is a base language of India and a Sanskrit word karuna. And karuna means my universal heart of love
has broken open and I’m called to act. I cannot just pass by what’s not working and
say well it doesn’t serve my personal interest. No. I’m called to act. So for me tapping into the spaces worldwide,
which is our inner capacity, our sense of self, our sense of fairness, our knowing of
compassion, this has been the way we’ve created change worldwide and it’s worked. We have results in every sector.

100 Comments

  • rstevewarmorycom

    Because back in tribal society we took greedy stealing people out and killed them, or banished them to predators. With the rise of large scale society there was a host of disorganized victims the greedy could prey on, and we stopped killing them or banishing them to predators because we had killed all the predators. They got thrown out of one town they just moved to the next!! We must start killing them again, to keep their kind and their genes from breeding more criminals!!

  • Alex Almeida

    Maybe it is possible that we are just as likely to be born softwired to humane traits like empathy and fairness as we are softwired to the lesser humane traits like greed and covetousness. Our cultures teach us what traits to nurture and uphold. When we are little children we play together in ways that are more inclusive and accepting and sharing. In recent millennia children have been socialized to believe that humans are extremely selfish, judgemental, hierarchical, patriarchal, etc. In reality if this were true our species would neither be this advanced nor successful. We got to now because of the hundreds of thousands + years of evolution when we exchanged ideas, embraced diversity and ascribed to concepts of fairness and sharing that enabled our tribes to survive, thrive and love successfully. 🍻

  • killbotone

    Listen you pea-brain scienticians, if God wanted fairness he wouldn't create babies with cancer. God likes it unfair so the rest of us get a fair unfair chance.

  • Eli Nope

    Title sounds like something an incel would say. It isn't fair that chad gets all the girls, we need to socialize sexual activity. SMH.

  • Darkhorseman82

    All these people defending it with the top comments, when all of modern psychology shows us what the problem is.

    People with Psychopathic and Narcissistic traits are drawn to right wing ideological policies because they create artificial caste systems/pockets of inequality that they can leverage to make their wealth through sheer bullying, not talent, skill, or any particular effort; though effort helps.

    They wish to maintain inequality at all costs, as it allows that particular group of people to get ahead, as they never would in a more civilized society.

    The funny thing is that inequality has been shown to slow growth and drastically impacts the global economy, making us all much worse off; rich and poor alike. The IMF recently released an in depth study on the issue.

    P.S the people with the top comments – the content of their comments can be used to profile and prove they are part of this cabal. Cambridge Analytica taught us this little trick – another right wing poverty entrenching company.

  • eddie E

    "Non Sequitur. Statements do not correlate. Your facts are uncoordinated. This unit is defective. Its thinking is chaototic" – Nomad 2267

  • Dennis Ni

    Any form of hierarchy will always be unfair. We are not equal. There are only different dimensions in which we are different good. What is fairness anyway? For some, it is fair to have equal opportunities to be treated equally for the other. Why should my medical opinion be as good as that of a doctor? I'm sorry, but the world is never fair. I will never be set up as a quaterback for an NFL team. Because I do not bring the skills We are not all the same. We should just try not to be tyrants and commit ourselves to general progress. For everything else, everyone is allowed to work for themselves and take responsibility.

  • Keith Garofalo

    I think the answer is pretty clear here, given the statistic you propose that 92% of people believe in fairness and equality and the statistic that we all know, that 1% of the population on this planet contains 99% of the wealth and power it’s very clear why there is still inequality in our world. The people that have all the wealth and power do not care about fairness and equality, end of story.

  • To Err is Huma

    What I want to know is why there has never been a one-legged 100m Olympic champion. It's just bigotry. And racism, and probably even sexism. Obviously it's ableism, if that's a word. It's gross, disgusting and must be remedied at the next Olympics, won't somebody think of the children!?

  • Marko Kraguljac

    Very simple. Most people are "negotiating" their place in life faced with possible starvation, marginalization and extinction in every sense. Bare survival ad infinitum.
    Some other (rich) people are "negotiating" with a plenty of leeway and are taking steps ONLY when "they are properly incentivized". More money and power for less risk.
    Exchanges which these two groups are making, we got used to call "voluntary". It's all about sweeping problems under a rug and kicking the can down the road.

  • Michael G

    You conflate fairness and equitable outcomes.

    Why on earth would you think fairness would lead to equality?

    Fairness CREATES inequality.

  • Scott Leisman

    the laws of the universe arent going to change for you. your life is up to you and your country is up to the people of your country. if you were like me and born broke then the laws in the universe are that i have to work and plan and build and…
    you cannot expect one person or country that works to receive the same outcome as those who don`t.

  • The Last White Male

    Equal opportunity. Not equal outcome. Yes, there’s problems that need fixing, but there will always be people losing and people marginalized. Even in the most functional society.

    How can one preach equality, yet also state that we’re all unique and special at the same time?

  • Save 15% or more

    The answer is that while fairness might be universally valued [citation needed] we still don’t all start at zero some people are smarter, prettier that’s just how life is.

  • DocsDota

    Compassion isn't going to allow me to give my fruits of labour to somebody else out of requirement, compassion isn't going to allow me to give my last piece of bread to someone else who is ALSO hungry.

    Inequality exists in the world because people are inherently different, not everyone can be a professional basketball player. Capitalism exists so that people can FREELY exchange ideas and fruits of labour in a society to both gain something at the expense of self's fruits of labour. Some people understand this and works hard for their money, while some people do not and blames the society for undercutting them.

  • Dan Chase

    Equality of outcome would be nice but you have to realize that an entrepreneur takes risks by investing his resources to create a business and thus the extra money he makes is his reward. Whether an employee is getting a promotion or not is down to every single factor from abilities to mannerisms at work.
    Forcing someone who took risks or worked hard to pay extra for incapable people or the undeserving would be the exact definition of unfair.

  • DarknezzMadnezz

    How about the problem of greed based business practices, the encouragement of over pricing things for self gain while harming everyone else? Technology should be used more to help correct this, by maintaining outdated ideals and solutions, keep us in this broken downward spiral.

    There is nothing fair or equal about capitalism or any of the ism's used of the past. These are all "old god" ideologies that have proven to be in no way compatible of being humane or logical, nor is it possible to maintain without causing serious inequality.

    Also, you may have plenty of great points… but kind of like it was said in Men in Black… A human is capable of being rational, humans as a whole are a chaotic mess that tend to think about themselves before anyone else which leads to further chaos.

    Its why the majority of "charities" are run by groups who are already rich, they know that they can give a small share of donations to people who may need it, while still making a profit and given tax deductibles. All the while giving the appearance of being non-profit and wanting to help people.

  • Julian Alexander

    We are fair because we need to co-exist, anything beyond this is just spiritual romanticism! Thumbs down on this video! 👎🏾

  • A Dohmnail

    This absurd stupidity shows how ignorant people are…there is not an abundance of resources. This type of utopian wishful thinking is the perfect example of feelings over facts. This is pure fiction…but I bet she feels woke lol

  • Malt454

    Fairness is a universal value for the individual, with a rapid rate of decay depending upon the distance from the individual. If I'm being treated unfairly, it's a big deal. If my family, friends, neighbors, people within my country or people outside my country are being treated unfairly, it becomes progressively less of a big deal. It's sad but true. "Injustice to one is injustice to all" is a fine value, but not widely held in real terms.

  • Matthew Antonello

    what an absolute frenchfry. everyone cares about fairness and she assumes everyone is the same therefore everyone should have the same but shes completely unable to see that we have inequity because everyone is NOT the same

  • indiana201333

    It's called inequality. And it exists because 2 huge reasons: Evil and stupidity. Evil serves to put greedy people in power and stupidity servers to keep them there.

  • StrawMan

    SHAME on you Big Think! EQUITY is a COMMUNIST dog whistle for same pay for everyone.
    FAIRNESS == equality of opportunity. It implies differences of outcome and different standards of living.
    Shame on Big Think for promoting murderous ideology of Marxism!

  • Rand Huso

    What a load of tosh! Equity is evil – people are not all alike, and not everyone works as hard as every other person, and not everyone is as smart or healthy as everyone else: we're all different. Equal opportunity (fairness of opportunity) is laudable, but equal outcome (what she stupidly wants) is communism – something that is proven to destroy civilization.

  • Cringe Crewism 101

    Our stuff isn’t actually so abundant. Our planet is more finite than ever before. 500 years left of coal. 80 left of gold. 83 left for natural gas. 180 left for nuclear fission uranium. 40 years left of oil. Unfairness is the greatest thing to ever exist. It’s just that the ones on the lower part need to work harder to make there life’s better.

  • Triggered Jelly

    If everyone has a sense of self-worth/dignity, then it's already distributed equally and fairly. It has nothing to do with material wealth, so there's no need to redistribute that too.
    Respect everyone's dignity, strive for your own material self-interests. Simple.
    And if you can help someone (by "giving them a fishing pole", not "fish") – do it. Helping others is also a virtue.

  • EruditeFuzz

    Quite a few issues, and I haven't even watched the video. I'm just going off of the title.

    Fairness is NOT a universal value. Not even a little bit. It's an abstract concept we, as human beings, invented to stabilize civilization. A "universal value" would imply that it's a facet of animal nature and all species would largely follow it. Which is not the case, whatsoever.

    Let's not forget that fairness in execution is also highly subjective. A set of values and social contracts have to first be created and fairness derived from those abstract principals. THEN, fairness is taken from those values and applied to social constructs. Orthodox Hindus believe the Caste System is entirely fair, and given the subjectivity of 'fairness', they're right. So is Capitalism, Communism, Oligarchy, Christianity, Islam, and serial murder. All are correct forms of fairness because they have rules of conduct, and the only failure to reach fairness is breaking those rules.

    The only thing that nature itself has deemed "fair" is 'might makes right'. Or, if you prefer: Darwinism. Based on the parameters of natural law, inequity and inequality are the ultimate in fairness. You fail to survive, you suffer the consequences.

  • mandoris

    Because people confuse fairness with kindness. Everyone having an equal chance at success is fair. This in no way guarantees everyone will have the same OUTCOME. It depends how much they are willing to do, a random set of circumstances, just plain luck. People also have different talents. Completely untainted random chance is FAIR, but outcomes will vary widely.

  • zenapplejones

    The Elites Rigged the Game. The new Communism is F U Capitalism. Oligarchy is the new Hip Thing. A Right Wing speaker – ( paraphrasing ) "All that free market Capitalism – with very little Democracy" speaking on China.

  • CerebralDreams

    Even a dog will get angry and jealous when another dog gets more food or attention than they do. That doesn't mean dogs can build skyscrapers and invent the digital computer. One of the consequences of a first world, civilized, industrious, technologically advanced society, is that we have to tolerate some level of inequality. Without it, the tech industry would have a hard time recruiting the best talent because they could make just as much money being a secretary. People wouldn't want to take risks and invest money in startups like Microsoft, Apple, or Facebook, because if they get too rich society will just take it away from them and redistribute it to everyone else. We're not fucking dogs. We don't need to get bent out of shape every time someone else gets more food or attention than you do.

  • Brian McConkey

    You've got a problem starting with the title of this video, the first rule of life is that it is NOT fair! How did this Dr. become educated without learning this basic fact of life?

  • MoMoneyLessProblems

    This is fucking laughable. Life has never been nor will it ever be fair. The concept of equality only necessitates equal opportunities not equal outcomes. Some people are more gifted or smarter or wealthier or more motivated than others. And so they experience better outcomes than average individuals. That's just the way it is. And the way it should be.

  • 57goku

    I’ve heard of a study we’re there was a monkey or something that got mad when it didn’t get what the other one got. But thinking about it now it just seemed Ike he didn’t want the short end of the stick, though it seems like a desire for justice. Everyone is okay with things being uneven as long as they aren’t the one that gets the bad end.

    There’s inequity bc we just hate being at the bottom not because we want fairness for everyone. That leads to a whole bunch of other things that lead to a lack of true equity haha

  • Interesting View

    I reject the premise of those video. What injustices do you speak of? I'm assuming you're implying systemic injustice in some form.

  • Emberwilde Productions

    The angry and insecure white men are out in force in the comments section, I see? A classic feature of YouTube's demographics.

  • Devolutheist

    Creativity means nothing without practical use. First you have to read Marx and only then you can come back and tell me about fairness. Fairness means equality of opportunity not outcome.

  • WTF how bizarre

    Also we don't look at problems of what's the consequences of this way of solving the problem in one particular way.
    Many problems are solve to the wealthy's or powerful's advantage.

  • Paul Thompson

    Life isn't fair. If you expect a free ride or some fairy god mother to save you from the hour of your death you live in a fantasy

  • Dino Ramzi

    Equity is not the same as fairness. Fairness is important, in which case there will always be inequity and compassion dictates we work diligently to mitigate its effects.

  • Eugène Hoogstad

    My take: She says, social inequality stems from a 'scarcity mindset'.
    However, research (apparently hers and of neuroscientists), shows that, we all have an innate compass for fairness and it transcends culture (i.e. it's universal). She labeled it our 'higher consciousness". Acting on this means emphasising empathy and emotions (as opposed to the aforementioned scarcity mindset). Additionally, technology is a big enabler to help us solve problems, thus also potentially social problems.
    Her question: 'Why don't we act on our innate, universal sense of fairness, emphasising empathy, and use technology to help us act on this to solve social problems?'

    I felt I just had to chip in here, reason all the comments. Some made it seem that what she is saying is incomprehensible, unstructured, does not make sense, liberal propaganda (I'll stop here).
    I beg to differ and believe her statement on the higher consciousness is a wonderful premise and why do we not see about trying to change a scarcity mindset (the zero sum game idea, if I have something, you automatically cannot have it), to a more emphatic mindset.
    If a child has food and another child is clearly hungry, what will most children do?

  • Mr J3nk0

    Are all people equally competent? Do all people provide equal value? Who judges the value, the person who is to pay to receive it, no?

    The idea of equity and the strive to attain it is based on the premise people ought to be equal. But such a premise is not actually founded in reality….

    Equality, whether of opportunity or outcome is wishful thinking. It belongs on the scrapheap of bad ideas.

  • Daniel Muñoz

    Do you know that compassion is an act of empathy, literraly a limbic system reaction? Obviously you have to be concious for having empathy, but for all emotions you have to be. If not you only are feeling nuclear affects. Im not write this to be pendant but this is learned in the second year of PE in the psychology class. I dont know of what you are a doctor. Sorry my english if its bad.

  • Dana Gray

    Because "fair" and "equal" are not the same thing. Monopoly is fair, but by the end of the game, one person has all the money while everyone else is bankrupt.

  • Ankit Varshney

    This is exactly what i have always felt. Like we dont think how much a product is worth but the other person shouldn't get it cheaper than me.

  • Will Carter

    Thats a lot of words that basically mean: if man is free, he is not equal, and if he is equal he is not free. KISS. Keep it simple stupid.

  • Alexander T

    About 7 or 8 years ago big think had good content but sometime around the early 2010s Sjws go a hold of it and it became a parody.
    This video is proof that little has changed.

  • AG

    TL;DW – "Making people more ethical helps society more than technological advances"
    Definitely don't agree, but that's what she said

  • Eduardo

    Life isn't equal because governments aren't equal. Some people are born into a losing situation, and there's nothing they can do about that. A select few can rise anyway, the overwhelming majority will die after a miserable, irrelevant life. That's just the way it is, because we've made it that way. And I've seen no evidence in history, or now, that suggests that will ever change

  • raharu000

    Your video was downvoted because you didn't clearly define what you mean by inequality. It sounds like you're talking about unnecessary suffering, not inequality. And I think you're trying to make a point about compassion transcending desire as a means to reduce suffering worldwide, which is an interesting topic.
    But that has nothing to do with inequality. The fact that you make more money than I do is an example of inequality, but that doesn't mean it's unfair or you aren't compassionate.
    Also, you talked about the need to stop trying to solve problems and instead focus on better solutions. I mean, that doesn't make much sense and it would've been helpful if you gave some examples or explained your idea better.

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