Economists’ Dictionary

Most economists think the words “equity” and “equality” mean the same thing.

I honestly don’t know how that came about in the first place. They never meant the same things, similar yes, not the same. My conflict of opinion with many economic schools of thought begins here; they make a hash of the concepts of “equity” and “equality”.

The following page explains equity and equality very well. I have the same concept exhaustively detailed in a previous blog post.

Most economists (even those in support of alternative economic schools) support the concept of a free market with no questions raised regarding the workings of markets on societies. Anyone wondering that is tagged a “socialist/communist” and is ignored. Disturbing sequence of events, primarily because this is not how any academic pursuit is supposed to work.

For those still confused, this could help to understand how equity and equality differ.

Basically, equality gives everyone the same starting position regardless of any handicap, equity takes that handicap into account and compensates for it at the starting point. Once that has been taken care of, getting to the end point will depend (largely) on individual efforts. Arguing against equity, for any reason, puts the one making the arguments at opposition to social and economic justice. Is that important? If history, the Occupy protests and various other events are anything to go by, a point is reached where society fractures. Like a metal rod that eventually breaks when subject to enough force at an instant, society also breaks down. Unlike the rod that has to be subject to enough force at an instant to break, society will break down eventually.

Knowing that society breaks down eventually requires, firstly, that those doing the observing realize that there is something wrong with society. The realization will not come till the concepts to understand the difference is freed of misrepresentation.


  1. Sumaiya R. Sumaiya R.

    Nitpicking. My experience with economists say otherwise. Perhaps an example or clarification on ‘most economists’ is necessary.

    1. Ahmed Waris al Majid Ahmed Waris al Majid

      I wouldn’t say you’re entirely wrong about this. However, I have seen enough people (not sure how many were professional economists) mix up the two to be a little annoyed.


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