[LMB] OT: Fairness and such genes, was Philosophy Re: Bringing it back to LMB

Pat Mathews mathews55 at msn.com
Wed Sep 14 17:03:40 BST 2011

Maybe the word you want is "equity"?


> From: paal at gis.net
> To: lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk
> Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2011 11:04:13 -0400
> Subject: [LMB]  OT: Fairness and such genes, was  Philosophy Re:  Bringing it back to LMB
> The word that I wanted instead of "fairness" is stubbornly resisting me
> thinking of it at the moment.  However.... experiments even with animals
> indicate that the animals generally get annoyed when there is in effect
> cheating at getting a fair share of food and such.... Being helpful and
> generous and such to others, is something that appears to actually have an
> innate genetic component to it.... humans who don't have it get labelled
> sociopathic or psychopathic.
> There -are- environmental components, such as
> training/readering/education/observation/experience and reward/punishment to
> try to inculcate values (or acquisition of values by osmosis...) regarding
> socially desired/accepable/allowed/exemplary behavior.  TV and film can be
> very pernicious influences regarding behavior, the more compelling the
> scene, the more learning happens.  People see things and imitate it,
> consciously or not, everything from speech patterns and clothing, to hair
> coloring, purchases, or even consciously modeling oneself after others, in
> fact or in fiction.
> Observation and experience tend to include learning, "helpfulness to others
> tends to them tending to be helpful to you."  Fairness tends to breed
> fairness, except in cultures and situations where there is institutionalized
> inequity and values which promote/enforce the inequities... Henry Ford in
> many things was a despicable bigot, but he did have the value that the
> workers in his factories, should be treated and paid well enough to afford
> and be consumers of the products they were making, and have a stake in at
> least that much, in producing products they could be proud to be involved
> in, and have that pride manifest as the products having quality, and being
> products they were not only making, but could and would take pride in buying
> and being owners of.    The counter to that, one example being the old
> Soviet system, had people working in factories making products that the
> workers had no personal stakes in as regards quality, the merchandise was
> shoddy, the workers were often drunk, and there were no rewards for higher
> production or better quality.... a worker whose work was higher quality, or
> who produced more, got the coworkers upset for making them look like
> slackers (especially if they were slackers).  Workers didn't get rewarded
> for better quality or high production.  The incentive to work hard and 
> excel, wasn;t there--because there were negative rewards and benefits 
> involved.
> Some cultures, such as Barrayar and cultures which Barrayar reflect, have 
> "honor" and "loyalty" values and mythos which focus on honor and loyalty and 
> fealty as cultural icons--the media of exchange on Barrayar including 
> oathings of subordinate to master, and implicit responsibilities of masters 
> to protect and nurture subordinates.  Issues with the Soviet system, were 
> that there were no call them moral checks upon responsibilities.... in 
> dog-eat-dog capitalism (Jackson's Whole) the profit and greed are the ruling 
> values, but apparently there is The Deal which exercises some governing... 
> there needs to be -something- used as control mechanism.  In the case of 
> "fairness" there is the situation of involvement of an expectation, that in 
> return for being late in the line, those up ahead won't take -everything- 
> but will consider those later in the line....  ah, the word I wanted earlier 
> is "altruism."
> -----Original Message----- 
> From: JenL
> Sent: Sunday, September 11, 2011 10:36 PM
> To: Discussion of the works of Lois McMaster Bujold.
> Subject: [LMB] Philosophy Re: Bringing it back to LMB
> On Sun, Sep 11, 2011 at 8:49 PM, Elizabeth Holden <azurite at rogers.com>wrote:
> > Hmm. I just walked in on this one.
> >
> >
> > Because in my philosophy, the greatest good is to minimize suffering and
> > to
> > foster happiness, love of life, and moral enlightenment; and for each of
> > us
> > to do what we can to make others happier; and for us to leave the world
> > better than we found it if it is at all in our power to do so.
> >
> > This seems rational to me.
> >
> >
> Similarly, my notions of morality and ethics are essentially "leave the
> world a better place for your having been a part of it".  Which requires
> both a "don't harm others" set of specifics and a "do your best to help
> others and improve things" set of specifics.
> jen 
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