The search for a Utopian lifestyle on planet Earth has been the concern of most humans during the course of humanity itself. Immigration and emigration are both everlasting proof of some of the methods humans go through in order to establish newer and enhanced lifestyles, leaving behind misery and lack of opportunity. It is evident to the twenty first century inhabitant, that utopia or a Utopian society is practically impossible to reach. Rather than Utopian characteristics in our society, one can notice wars, illnesses, poverty, famine, disease and notably, inequalities.
Inequalities are a major factor which unfortunately cause unhappiness and social separations as well as affect economic growth. Following the release of the Broadbent Institute report in October 2012, “Towards a More Equal Canada, A Report on Canada’s Economic and Social Inequality “, which covers the social and economic inequalities in present day Canada, one can easily be more aware of the problems that the Canadian people face due to unequal factors.
In the report, several inequalities are covered including the shrinking of the middle class, the elites capturing growth, greater and increasing income gaps, inequality of wealth, and social group inequalities. Focusing on social group inequalities and using various philosophical principles, we are able to determine the validity and moral importance of this growing problem through the ideologies of Singer, Libertarianism, Utilitarianism, and sufficiency principles.
According to the Broadbent Institute report, different social groups have been suffering inequalities in Canada since the nineteen sixties. Social groups such as aboriginal peoples, women, people with disabilities, immigrants, and people from deprived communities or provinces have been targets of unequal social and economical separation from the more fortunate Canadian population, notably the euro descendant man. These social groups earned and still generally earn far less than the average white Canadian citizen.
Till this day, gender still defines economical differences, putting women below men with regards to financial earnings. Further more, women in Canada are still dependent on men for financial support as it is the men which earn more, and consequently occupy the majority of the top 1% earners of Canada. In addition to ongoing gender inequalities, newly admitted immigrants and aboriginal people earn far less than the white Canadian due to strict educational accreditation of foreign diplomas, racism, social profiling, and social preferences on behalf of employers.
Racialized Canadians are ongoing victims of social and economical deprivation due to preferential systems in the work field, forcing these competent candidates to work in the labor field and live in low-income neighborhoods or secluded deprived areas with little financial opportunity. As an ongoing social and economical problem in Canada, these inequalities are evidently worth being improved or changed, however, whether these changes should be morally obligated is the question.
To begin, we may examine Peter Singer’s main ideology, “if we can prevent something bad from happening, without sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, then we ought, morally, to do so. This principle can be linked with the social group inequalities of Canada examined in the Broadbent Institute report. Having already acknowledged that these inequalities are a problem in the nation, Singer’s principle may be used as a guide for improvement.
Social group inequalities are economically degrading for the country in general as well as degrading to a personal level to those who are affected, hence making it a bad thing to have in a country. However, one must keep in mind that mainly racialized and new immigrants run the labor work force to Canada, and by eliminating social group inequalities, we might sacrifice many labor working employments. By sacrificing these positions, we may encounter further problems in the economy with a vacancy gap in the labor work force, which is too great to fill.
Morally, it is to everyone’s preference to be equal in a coexisting society of many races and backgrounds. By basing ourselves solely on Singer’s principle, the conclusion of the analysis would definitely not morally agree with his ideologies. Working around the argument, we are able to minimize the “bad” “(social group inequalities) using different methods such as more relaxed education laws, placement centers, immigration help and guidance, in order to improve the situation.
Improving the situation does not mean eliminating social group inequalities; hence we are not sacrificing anything of the same moral importance such as the labor work force. Moving on to a libertarian aspect, where the principle implies that everyone should have maximum liberty, consistent with equal liberty for others, the issue can be analyzed differently. Social group inequalities are in some ways depriving the victims of their liberties of electing their path of career and enabling them to become what they truly want.
The victims of social group inequalities, notably immigrants, aboriginals, women, the disabled, may want to follow a certain career path or have already completed education required for a certain employment however due to the inequalities in Canada towards them, they are forced into lower income employments, hence overpowering their liberties and free will. This issue is very unfortunate as the affected are left with no choices due to their circumstances and backgrounds.
Staying on the libertarian path, we may conclude that the issue of social group inequalities, morally, should be fixed as it is depriving its victims of their liberty and free will. By fixing the problem, the liberty of the rest of the population will not be affected, yet enhanced for everyone, by enabling more people to make their own choices, possess liberty and free will. Therefore, social group inequalities should be eliminated and treated in Canada when analyzing with a libertarian approach. By analyzing different philosophical moral approaches to the problem, we are able to see the different conclusions that each one might lead to.
We may further analyze the problem through a utilitarian approach. Utilitarianism suggests that an action is right when it maximizes utility (happiness) overall. Social group inequalities affect Canada’s economical situation by bringing down the economy in certain areas where the problem is more prominent such as low-income neighborhoods and secluded or neglected areas where there are no opportunities for economical prosperity. Creating an improvement plan with regards to social group inequalities will create happiness and opportunity to the majority of the population that are affected by this problem.
Encouraging women to obtain higher education and compete for high management employment positions, creating guidance centers for aboriginal peoples in order for them to receive an education and follow a career path, enable educated immigrants to work freely in their field without racial profiling or racism, enhance the economy and growth of area with few resources by moving factories and company headquarters, are all ways to control this problem by enhancing the happiness of all including the population which were not affected by social group inequalities.
Victims of the problem will be relieved of their inequalities; as for the population, which did not suffer from this inequality, their happiness and utility will also be enhanced.
Racial people will be more mixed with the upper class, creating new social groups and opportunities, the Canadian economy will be boosted due to the creation of new jobs and the improvements of rural or low-resource cities and towns, social acceptance will be promoted, professional fields will be enhanced to do the vast racial diversity, labor work force will attract new groups of people such as younger Canadians, as well as many more advantages to the society as a whole.
Finally, one might conclude that it is almost a moral obligation, philosophically basing ourselves on the utilitarian approach, to improve and minimize social group inequalities in Canada as it would be promoting general happiness and economical prosperity for the entire nation. Lastly, the issue of social group inequalities may be analyzed through the philosophical principle of sufficiency. Sufficiency suggests that what matters is not equality, but whether people have enough.
This principle is quite different than the others as it suggests a different outcome or conclusion to the problem itself. In the previous paragraphs, we analyzed social group inequalities though philosophical moral principles in order to treat the problem and improve the situation of Canada with regards to its inequalities and economical prosperity. However, priorities were never covered and deserve to be mentioned for the purpose of this paper.
Women, immigrants, aboriginal peoples, people living in rural or economically deprived areas all suffer from inequalities as previously explained and proven in the Broadbent Institute report. These social groups may live a low-income life, yet they have all that they need to sufficiently live a healthy and full life. Their life may not be as prosperous or luxurious as the higher-income social class of Canada, however their needs are all met with the earnings that are allocated to them and their families.
There are other social classes in Canada, which do not have sufficient financial means to support their families, moreover themselves for that matter. Hence the government should be focusing on eliminating poverty and suffering rather than minimizing social group inequalities. Morally, it would be the correct thing to do for the government of Canada when basing our philosophical ideologies on the principles of sufficiency. The priorities for aid go from the classes of people that have nothing or the least, up to the classes of people that have the most.
When comparing the situation of the population that suffer from poverty, homelessness, famine, malnutrition, to the population which suffer from social group inequalities, it is easy to conclude that the aid should be prioritized to the more needy. In addition, by providing aid to the population which do not have sufficient financial means to live a full healthy life, equality is enhanced and promoted by raising the standards of living for all Canadians, hence somewhat aiding with the issue of social group inequalities by eliminating poverty.
The Broadbent Institute report served as a very well organized and efficient study, raising social awareness about the inequalities that are present and faced every day in Canada. Using the aid of philosophical principles and ideologies such as Peter Singer’s, Libertarianism, Utilitarianism, and the principles of sufficiency, we were able to more deeply analyze the moral importance of improving and eliminating the issue of social group inequalities which are very much present in our nation today.
Each principle suggests a different moral approach; consequently providing various conclusions which Canadians can base their opinions with regards to this problem. By utilizing different moral aspects of philosophy, we were able to demonstrate clearly why the problem of social group inequalities should or should not be reduced in our society depending on the outcome and well-being of the general Canadian population.
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