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On fairness

Say you're a teacher. And one of the kids comes up to you and makes a case that she wasn't feeling well and couldn't study for the test and ended up scoring lower than usual as a result, and that you should consider bumping up her grade to account for this. Would you do it?

Say you're a parent of two kids. And one of them says that they deserve a higher allowance for the week as they have helped you mow the lawn. Would you do it?

Say you're a manager at a company and one of your subordinates comes and asks you for a higher bonus to justify the work they have been putting in. Would you do it?

Say you work for a company and a colleague asks you for details on the interview process so they can better prepare for their interview with your company. Would you do it?

Say you're a politician and are about to put out a tender for mining rights, and a businessman friend of yours asks you to include a clause that benefits them while hurting their competitors. Would you do it?

Irrespective of whether you answer yes or no to any of these questions, it is possible to argue that that is the fair thing to do.

However, fairness is never just from the perspective of the person doing the act. It is also from the perspective of everyone else who is potentially affected by it.

If everyone who will be impacted by the act or decision under question were to find out what you did, would they consider it fair?

In the examples above, would the rest of the kids in the class consider it fair that one person had their grade bumped for being sick and unable to study? Would one sibling consider it fair that the other got a higher allowance for helping mow the lawn? Would the other employees consider it fair that someone got a higher bonus for the work they did? Would the rest of the candidates with no friends in the company they are interviewing for consider it fair that one candidate knew what the interview would be like? Would the rest of the businessmen consider it fair that a clause was added in the tender to favour one businessman?

If the answer is yes, then the act was fair. 

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