Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 4

Re the new Buffett op ed, you say "We need to get the idea of “fairness” out of the debate. Instead, we should look at how much money we need and what is the most efficient and responsible way of raising it is. “Fair” is always subjective and can never be achieved to the satisfaction of all."

I disagree.

Most people regard fairness as a subjective concept, but it needn't be such. Let's take a very simple example:

2 people want to divide a pie between them fairly, but they can't agree on a 3rd person to do so. What do they do? They agree that one of them will divide the pie into 2 pieces, and the other of them gets first choice to claim 1 of the pieces. Because the divider doesn't know which piece s/he'll be able to claim, her/his incentive is to divide the pie as equally as possible. This will lead to equal pieces for both, which all would agree is a fair result.

Generalizing from this, a fair procedure could be defined as a process which produces outcomes when the participants don't know ahead of time which outcome will be theirs. This is the essence of the concept of fairness described in "A Theory of Justice", by John Rawls.

Applying this concept in the context of creating a fair tax system wouldn't be easy, because the deciders couldn't be trusted to ignore their individual financial situations, but their biases could be offset by ensuring that the deciders include individuals from a broad range of financial circumstances.
Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Community Home
Speak Your Mind, Start Your Blog, Rate Your Stocks

Community Team Fools - who are those TMF's?
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.