Life Will Be Fair And Just - Thought Experiment
|Philosophy : Thought Experiments|
It was a good day for the citizens of new earth. They were about to take their places on the new planet that had been terraformed and they all were excited about what to do.
Already the stronger amongst them and those with natural charm were thinking of all that land they could conquer and the legacy they could build for themselves.
So when the Controller came in with a serious look on his face, they were puzzled. This was a time for celebration, surely?
"Dear citizens of new earth", he began. "Life here is not like it is on earth. Although we have made the planet habitable, there are still some strange chemicals we cannot eradicate on the surface. When you reach new earth, these chemicals in the atmosphere may change you and your personality and physical abilities.
Whilst none of them are lethal - we are sure of that - they may noticeably change how you are. Some of the fit will become weak and need looking after, whilst some of those with poorer mental faculties will somehow find inspiration and become leaders.
Now, we only have a finite set of resources so we need to work out how to divide them. What say you?"
The Controller watched the puzzled looks and concern on everyones face. He was very smug. Whilst he had just told them a pack of lies, he was sure that they would all now come to his point of view that resources should all be shared equally.
After all, since no one knew what would happen to him or her on New Earth, they didn't know if they would be lucky and rich and successful or poor and incapable of working.
So surely everyone would decide for an equal allocation of resources; who wouldn't want to ensure the welfare of the worst off, when they had a good chance of being one of those needy people?
Nothing could go wrong - they would all decide for equal division, the most intuitively fair result. Or so he thought. But is that what they chose?
Questions about thought experiment: