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Taking It Home, Workshop 5: Fairness

In "Virtue Ethics," a Tapestry of Faith program

The future, which we hold in trust for our own children, will be shaped by our fairness to other people's children. — Marian Wright Edelman

IN TODAY'S WORKSHOP... we learned about the life of one of our Canadian Unitarian ancestors, Lotta Hitschmanova. We talked about whether everyday games we play are fair, and how fairness relates to justice.

Leveling the Playing Field

  • When it is time to pick a leader or who goes first in a game, how do you choose? The person for whom it has been the longest since they were first? Rock/Paper/Scissors? Dealing out cards until the first diamond is dealt? Shortest straw? Can you think of some creative ways that are just as random? How about the person with the most consonants in their name? The person who has saved the most "Sent" messages in their cell phone? The person who can open a phone book or a dictionary the closest to page 100?
  • No country in the world has a perfect justice system, if for no other reason than that people are not perfect. Many organizations around the world advocate for justice for the imprisoned and wrongfully accused. Amnesty International is one such organization. So is the Southern Poverty Law Center. Visit these websites and read about the cases they support and how you can help.
  • Standing on the Side of Love (SSL) is a Unitarian Universalist campaign to spread love and justice. Visit the website. Does your congregation visibly stand on the side of love by demonstrating or marching in public? Your youth group might start a congregational trend by purchasing SSL shirts and wearing them during group justice activities, such as serving at a soup kitchen or the Martin Luther King Day March or PRIDE Parade. You can customize them with the name of your congregation, too.

Fairness Dilemmas

Remember this dilemma from today's workshop?

As part of an experiment, you are offered $100. There are two stipulations to the offer: 1) You must share it with a partner. However, you decide how much to keep and how much to share. 2 ) If your partner refuses their share, neither of you gets a penny. How much do you offer your partner? 50/50? What if the partner says, "I won't accept anything less than $90." What do you do?

This experiment was actually performed. Online (Economics vs Logic) you can read the results and many interesting questions they raised, such as "When is keeping a good reputation more important than financial self-interest?" and "How does this dilemma translate into supply-and-demand capitalism?"

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Wednesday, October 29, 2014.

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