My definition of the word ‘Fair’



People often complain about other people or circumstances being unfair. We complain about not having what people around us have. Having worked with and around young children, I often hear the words ‘That’s not fair’.

But what does fairness really mean? Most of the people that I’ve asked this question to define the word ‘fair’ as “everyone having or being given the same thing/explerience”. I understand that we all should be entitled to clean drinking water, equal access to food and shelter (even though this is not the case) and the right to live.

However, I question this definition since not all of us would benefit in having exactly the same thing. For instance, is it fair to prescribe a person with myopia (near-sightedness) a pair of glasses that is suited for those with hyperopia (far-sightedness)? Equally, is it fair to give people with diabetes a large milk-chocolate candy bar simply because everyone around them is having the same thing?

I therefore define the word ‘Fair’ as “everyone having what is best for them”. I understand that this poses the problem of power-relations, i.e. who decides what is best for someone? And in the same token, what makes that person qualified to decide what others deserve? Should the majority decide? Shall we let science decide?

I’ll stick to my definition while I search for the answers


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