Against equality of opportunity Essay

Published: 2020-02-09 08:31:06
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Category: Equality

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Rawls is a little to extreme to apply to television presenting as his theories but the point is still there that just because your talented in one area you shouldnt be put on a new level. People who were not successful in the genetic lottery should be helped to, this can clearly be applied to the success sport stars receive because of their bodies, not something everyone can choose. Dworkin is similar Rawls, all should be treated with the same rules, Dworkin however places a much higher value on ambition rather than endowment. People should receive equality of resources not welfare, with society rewarding those with the ambition, those who make the effort. In the context of this essay therefore the sport star would be the one who benefits. They can be seen as making a huge effort and having the determination to succeed in an entirely competitive world, they therefore should get the job over someone who hasnt shown the same level of ambition or effort in their life.

Cohen however finds this harder; he argues that ambitions and endowments are difficult to evaluate and to distinguish between. Ambitions are integrally related to endowments, those with intelligence and talents might have more ambition, just as much or they might have less, we do not know. As with Dworkin, the reason people do well is responsibility of choice. Sport stars are people who have a talent, the reason they do well is because they do not squander it, they make the right choice to do well in their life. The reason people are unsuccessful is down to irresponsible choices or sometimes bad luck. Sport stars therefore should get jobs in presenting if they chose to try that career and are good at it, at the same time however the successful do have a responsibility to those who are unsuccessful because of bad luck. Everyone in that situation should have an equal right to welfare and resources. This argues that sports stars should not just get the presenting jobs automatically, sometimes a retired star is better, sometimes the trained present will be more deserving of the success, each individual is different.

As with the others, Rae we all begin with begin with an opportunity to equal means, but he believes this will lead to unequal prospects. He argues making merit a criterion for success will cause peoples differing talents and intelligence to make prospects for success unequal. Because some are much better than others in any given area (in this case sporting knowledge and ability) they will have the unfair advantage to do well in such careers at the expense of the disadvantaged that dont have those talents. This however, also means the people who get hired, for jobs such as sports television presenters, will be the people who are best for the job. Retired sport stars know their game through and through and this added level of knowledge puts them on a better standing, they can give more information and perhaps pass on a love of the sport which got them to where they now are. This therefore argues compared to someone just trained in presenting, sport stars are those who should be presenting the program as they can give more to the people watching.

Despite this argument there are still successful programs like Soccer A.M which are not presented by stars and are still very popular, on the whole however with most current sports programs show a definite trend in using ex-stars to front the programs. Perhaps this is because the television companies believe the celebrity of the star will attract viewers, perhaps they feel the stars know all about the sport and so can present and discuss it better. Whatever the reasons there are many strong theories and arguments for both sides, showing the situation could be both fair and unfair in places it just depends on personal views on ambition, talent and choices.


Cavanagh, M. Against equality of opportunity, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2002.

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