Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bums complain about income disparities

It's incredibly unjust that bums earn a lot less than the non-bum population. So, recently in New York City, they have been protesting in the streets about the various disparities that exist between them and other citizens.

The statistics are overwhelming. The average income of a bum is far less than an average citizen. Furthermore, they have other depressing statistics in terms of standards of housing, drug use, life expectancy and crime rates. This is a clear sign of discrimination, don't you think? Governments around the world have already commited themselves to measures designed to specifically reduce this disparity. One such measure proposed for New Zealand is a "Flat Bum Tax" of 10c in the dollar, as well as preferential care in hospitals and a minimum wage of $18 an hour for them.


Anyway, that was all made up, but it's what affirmative action is all about. Dividing people up into groups and blanketly deciding what should be done about the group.

My question is, why divide people up by race as we do now?

Why not by height?
Or attractiveness?
Or any other measure you can think of that has some form of disparity?

Taller people earn more on average than shorter people. Attractive people earn more than average. Maori people earn less than average.
However, for some reason, we've decided that our "disadvantaged group" is arbitrarily decided by race. There are thousands of other groups we can subdivide as well to label people as. "People aged 32-36 of Russian ancestry living here happen to earn less than average." Hell if I know, but we could eventually find all sorts of disparities in anything we can label a group. So why don't we apply affirmative action for more things? "League of Unattractive Models." How about we give scholarships to less attractive models so they can be on an even footing with the more attractive ones?

Of course, this would be too difficult. The point of affirmative action is that it's easy. Maori are easy to identify and unite. There's a great deal of difference between quickly stereotyping based on statistics in the heat of a police chase and deciding whether to allow someone to enter university or not. Using the statistics of a group may be the only option if you have no ability to find out any information specifically regarding the individual - but in the vast majority of cases, that information will be available. You shouldn't decide whether someone enters university or not based on race if you've got the information - and in that case, you definitely should have it.

I've got theories on some of the reasons for disparities. They'll come in a later post, however.

2 Comments:

Blogger Tigerhawk Vok said...

Kudos to that. I loathe affirmative action

10:41 PM  
Anonymous John Muffin said...

You are part of the ignorant-wing and clearly have no understanding of Te Triti o Waitangi and our kohopapa. You probably think us Maori just want to steal your foreshore and seabeds. Utu whakahuhoihoi.

9:32 AM  

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