Equity › Confusions
Rogers, James E. Thorold. 1879. “British Finance: Its Present and Future,” The Contemporary Review 34(2): 281-303.
 The superfluous wealth of the rich, it may be alleged, is expended in maintaining a number of persons whose gains are wholly useless, if not noxious, to society, and whose expenditure renders the lot of useful industry harder and less hopeful. The wisest jurists and economists have alleged that the distribution of wealth is a matter of human institution only. It is much more true, or at least much more important, that the distribution of public burdens should be equitable. Now, there is no equity in taxation unless it be founded on the principle of an equality of sacrifice. No one gains more benefit from government, from order, from the steady growth of industry, than the very rich do. It is only fair that they should compensate society for the advantages they enjoy by the very moderate sacrifice of that the residue of which will be amply sufficient for any reasonable pleasure which they may desire, and any harmless enjoyment which they may wish for.
Devens, Richard Miller. 1883. American Progress. Hugh Heron: Chicago.
 A proper equality, equity and fairness, protection for the weak, restraint upon the strong, —in short, justly distributed burdens, and justly distributed power, —the grange holds to be American ideas, the very essence of American independence, to advocate the contrary being unworthy the sons and daughters of an American republic. … The wonderful growth of the grange movement…attributes to the condition of the public mind which existed at the time of the founding of the movement, — the prevailing feeling of distrust towards the organized interests of every kind then existing, the common indignation against the injustice of the unfair distribution of profits, the prevailing discrimination against agricultural labor which was, year after year, constantly kept alive in the minds of the farmers of the west by the fast decreasing profits, buying goods sold at heavy profits, paying burdensome taxes brought upon them by unscrupulous rings which had squandered and stolen the public funds, while the result of the year's product and sale showed a loss to honest labor.
Holyoake, George Jacob. 1885. The History of Co-operation in England Vol. II. Trubner and Co.: London
 The men of Rochdale were they who first took the name of Equitable Pioneers. Their object was to establish equity in industry—the idea which best explains the spirit of modern Co-operation. It would have been an advantage if other societies had been attracted by this excellent term—equity. Industrial Equity is a better term than Co-operation. Equity is as pretty a name as utility. Equitarian is not a longer name than Utilitarian; and even Equitablism would at least mean more than Co-operation, since it would imply an equitable share of work, and also an equitable share of profit, which the word Co-operation does not connote.
Holyoake, George Jacob. 1887. “Growth of Cooperation in England,” The Fortnightly Review 48: 168.
 When productive industry passes into the hands of the people, the distribution of wealth will be under their control. There will not be equality, but there will be equity in its distribution, and none who produce, wealth will be without their fair share of it. Were this state of things to come to pass it would not protect workmen from the reduction of profit through foreign competition. But in that case all would suffer equally from the depression. It would not be as now, when a few get rich by the vicissitudes of the many, whose misfortune is embittered by the pernicious contrast.
Griswold, Wolcott Noble. 1887. A Consideration of the Wealth and Poverty of Nations. The Bancroft Company: San Francisco.
 [A]nd this minority in response to the restless activity and world-wide demands for reform, cry out, ‘Laissez faire, laissez faire.’
[171-172] Society violates the law of an ample equity in that it leaves the distribution of the sources of wealth and means of employment to variable and fortuitous circumstances; and is fully responsible to all sufferers through its failure to maintain an adjustable system of distribution either of the sources of wealth and appliance of production, or of the results of their conjoint use.
When society fully recognizes the false position it occupies with relation to the trust imposed upon it by the intelligent beneficent Force and the responsibility devolved upon it to assure the well-being of every person within the limits of its sway, then it will either go back to first principles, place all individuals on an equal footing as to sources of wealth, or go forward by way of public enterprise and insure an equitable distribution of commodity to all consumers. It will, it must go forward; the days of isolated, independent industrial individualism are passed.
In that it stimulates the recognition of social responsibility, the gradual introduction of public enterprise will involve an economic advance, carrying forward a host of equities and increasing the physical well-being of all citizens. On the other hand, responsibility once recognized will insure the rapid promotion of public enterprise. Public enterprise will lead to that desirable result, a more equitable distribution of wealth. Government does not subsist for the gathering of wealth which it cannot use; it exists that it may at once impart all it gathers for the immediate benefit of all citizens; and whatever measures, antagonistic to this idea, may be adopted by those in power, to that extent do they subvert the better ends of government. On the contrary, it is the specific end of private enterprise to pile up commodities without limit and in the accumulation, it comes about that an equitable distribution of wealth is rendered impossible.
 It is this impartial equity—equal distribution to all men of the sources of wealth and appliances of production, enabling every man separately, to produce what he consumes—or, what is equivalent or better, co-operative distribution of useful wealth which has been co-operatively produced, to the introduction of which, on the industrial plane, the religio-social forces, by virtue of their vastness and extension, are irrevocably committed; the same equity, it will be noted, to which the lower, narrow and individual forces are also carrying, unconsciously to the principal actors, industrial evolution.
Clark, John Bates. 1887. The Philosophy of Wealth. Ginn and Company: Boston.
[131-132] There has been a vast increase in the quantity of wealth produced; and this fact may have sufficed to increase the laborer's reward without any enlargement of his proportionate share of the sub-product. Whether the division is, at the present day, taking place on terms more favorable to the laborer than those which ruled fifty years ago is of far less consequence than the question whether the present principle of division is one which must yield permanently better results than the old one. That real wages are high this year is of little importance in comparison with the fact that they are adjusted by a process which promises to make them higher next year, and still higher in the years following, a process which offers a permanent guaranty against the resumption of the hopeless downward tendency which, under the former system, was regarded as ‘natural.’
The old principle of division rendered gross injustice inevitable; the present principle makes equity possible. A fair bargain demands either a desire for justice on the part of the participants, or strategic equality between them. The weak and the powerful may deal equitably with each other if justice rather than selfish interests be the end in view; in the absence of this moral force weakness must be matched against weakness, and strength against strength. A maximum of justice in distribution is attained where the brute forces are evenly matched, and where moral influences are efficient. A minimum of justice results where brute forces are unequal, and moral forces wanting.
Lacy, George. 1888. Liberty and Law. Swan Sonnenschein, Lowrey & Co.: London.
[256-257] But no doubt the supporters of the theft theory appeal to something they conceive to be higher than the law. But what is this something? They cannot call it equity, for, as Mr. Spencer affirms, equity means equalness, and therefore from the point of view of equity there cannot be any theft in that which aims at equalising the good things of this world; theft could only apply to appropriation which tends to de-equalise property, which rather cuts the ground from under the feet of Mr. Mallock's friends. Nor can they appeal to the mere fact of possession as a higher principle than law, for the method of possession would have to be put in proof. Possession must have been obtained somehow, and if it of itself is sufficient to create right, without enquiring how it was obtained, we should be reduced to the doctrine that might makes right. But here, again, Mr. Mallock is at a disadvantage, for clearly the State itself is the greatest power in it, and whatever it did must, by the hypothesis, be right.
Kirkup, Thomas. 1888. An Inquiry into Socialism. Longmans, Green and Co.: London.
 Socialists propose the concentration of land and capital under social control with the view to an equitable distribution of the fruits of labour. Land and capital, which are the means of production, instead of being divided, are to be put under collective management for the common good. Wealth applied to consumption must of course be divided among the individuals who enjoy it. Socialism does certainly contemplate a fairer division of the fruits of industry.
Denslow, Van Buren. 1888. Principles of the Economic Philosophy of Society, Government and Industry. Cassell and Co.: New York.
 So if the two parties were merely fishermen, one of whom had furnished boat, lines, and bait, but could not fish himself, while the other fished, but had neither boat, lines, nor bait of his own, the aid of each being equally necessary as that of the other, it would be equitable that the fish product should be divided equally between them, no matter how many other men the owner of the boat, lines, and bait might employ in the same way. Here we strike a principle of equity as between man and man. This is, that the amount of capital which employs a man's labor, and the amount of human labor which gives employment to this same amount of capital, should have an equal share of the joint product, if they are, as usually they must be, equally necessary to the joint result. If this is a sophism, I am not able to discern its fallacy.
[199-200] Is Economic Distribution Just? The unequal distribution of wealth has been confessed to be unjust and unnecessary by the mass of mankind, by many statesmen, and by most economists, without discussion or examination. The more disposed the mind is to regard undirected and empty-handed labor as transacting the whole business of life, a disposition which in many minds rises into an infatuation easily mistaken for benevolence, the more plaintive will be its outcry against one man having more than another. Thus, Adam Smith, after speaking of servants, laborers, and workmen of different kinds as ‘making up the far greater part of every great political society,’ says ‘it is but equity, besides, that they who feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of the people should have such a share of the produce of their own labor as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged.’
The answer to this is, it is but equity that they who obtain the initiative in all industry, who set all labor in motion at their own risk, and provide it with its work, implements, and subsistence, and market its product, should be recognized by a professional economist as having done something toward the creation of labor, instead of being maligned as the crafty purloiuers of what they have had no hand in producing. If it were true that ‘servants, laborers, and (wages) workmen’ do ‘feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of the people,’ then Adam Smith would not be teaching sound equity in saying that the robbers should give up enough to feed and clothe the producers comfortably. An honest conscienced world will spurn with scorn any such mealy-mouthed compromise with felony as Smith proposes. Karl Marx would be right in saying the profit-makers should give up all, which they did not produce, to the last red cent.
Fairman, Frank. 1888. The Principles of Socialism Made Plain. William Reeves: London.
 Strict equity would say, I think—If you have cultivated a portion of the land without protest from the other inhabitants, there being enough for them all, you are entitled to the fruits of your labour, and they will repay you for that labour. But when, owing to the increase of population, there is not enough for all, such labour gives you no exclusive title to the land itself, which still belongs to the whole community.
Ward, Lester F. 1888. Dynamic Sociology, Vol. I. D. Appleton and Co.: New York.
[517n.] Under the natural, or spontaneous, system of society, the accumulation of wealth proceeds in a manner exactly the reverse of that beat suited to the true advancement of social and individual welfare. Instead of its equitable distribution in proportion to the amount each contributes to its production, it tends to concentrate in the hands of those who produce least. Equity would require that the difficulty in obtaining wealth should increase in some direct ratio to the amount obtained. In fact, the difficulty rapidly diminishes as the amount increases. Equity would require that the extra burdens produced by unforeseen events should be chiefly borne by those who have already an abundance. They are ultimately borne by the laborer who has little or nothing.
Cope, Rufus. 1890. The Distribution of Wealth. J. B. Lippincott Company: Philadelphia.
[181-182] It is evident that money produces nothing. A may collect together one hundred thousand dollars in money. That money represents so much stored wealth, and, for the purpose of transfer and of the temporary storage of wealth, money is convenient and necessary. But if A locks that money in his safe for months or years, he does society an injury. In equity he has no right to hoard it. To do so is to divert it from its legitimate use. Society is entitled to it, and that, too, without paying a premium on its use. If A does not desire to exchange it for the products of labor, society is entitled to that money without incurring any obligation other than for the return of a like sum when A may require it for the purpose of expenditure.
Gunton, George. 1891. Principles of Social Economics. G. P. Putnam’s Sons: New York.
 The law of prices may be said to occupy the keystone position in the arch of economic science. It involves the principle upon which the equity of all human relations finally rests. All the advantages of social intercourse, however simple or complex, ultimately depend upon the exchange of equivalents. This is as true in the realm of the affections, ideas, ethics, and politics, as it is in economics. If all could secure the equivalent for what they give, they would receive an absolutely equitable reward for what they do, and injustice would be impossible. All industrial political, moral, or religious endeavor to improve society being efforts to promote justice, it must rest finally upon the principle involved in the law of economic prices, namely, quid pro quo. Nothing is truly economic which is not entirely equitable, and equity is the highest form of ethics.
Bliss, William Dwight Porter. 1895. A Handbook of Socialism. Swan Sonnenschein and Co.: London.
 Socialism is the Fixed Principle, capable of infinite and changing variety of form, and only gradually to be applied, according to which the community should own land and capital collectively and operate them co-operatively for the equitable good of all.
Brown, John. 1897. Parasitic Wealth. Charles H. Kerr and Co.: Chicago.
 The criterion of Social Equity resolves itself, therefore, simply into ‘Fair-play.’ If we enter the arena of life on equal terms as regards natural opportunities, then all the requirements of social ethics are satisfied. We have but to exert our faculties and make the proper effort, and reward comes to us in a direct ratio of our services to society. Our reward is then a measure of our effort and ability. This is justice; more we cannot ask.
Vail, Charles Henry. 1899. Modern Socialism. Commonwealth Company: New York.
 The demand of Socialism is equity, — social justice. It is not simply a question of expediency, but one of morals. To allow unequals to prey upon each other, is to allow the strong and cunning to ensnare the weak and innocent. There was often really more fellow-feeling between the master and the slave, than is now manifest between the employer and the employed. The condition, however, of the laborer under the present system, is hopeless. The evils from which he suffers cannot be mitigated and the system maintained. In place of this laissez-faire which separates society into two classes, we must establish the essence of Socialism, —brotherhood.
Chambers, Julius. 1910. “Woman: The Line of Progress,” The Forum 44(Dec.): 724-732.
 Real equality is only reached in absolute equity. The ‘equality’ that woman demands and assuredly will attain is equality of opportunity. That secured, equality in wages must follow.
Jandus, William. 1913. Social Wrongs and State Responsibilities. Horace Carr: Cleveland.
 If in an economic sense the industrial process is a flow of services, it must in an ethical sense be a flow of sacrifices. If economics is a balancing of productive services, it must be a balancing of productive sacrifices also. On its ethical side, therefore, normal economics should be identified with applied justice and our social arrangements should make for industrial equity. Yet our theories lead toward no equalization of the rewards and sacrifices of production, and no sane economist has ever grown eloquent over the justice of present conditions. … And from Smith to Mill, and from Comte to Herbert Spencer every distinguished writer on social science took it for granted that injustice is inherent in human affairs and that social equity is a matter, not of applied economics, but of discretional morals and organized benevolence. It did not occur to these writers as a reasonable alternative, that perhaps their economic interpretation and not ‘human depravity,’ might be to blame for the injustice.
Bartley, Vernon. 1913. “Christian Idea of Property” in Property: Its Rights and Duties. Macmillan and Co.: London.
 The other part of Justice is Equity, that making one’s self equal with others … For where all are not equally matched there is not equity; and inequality itself excludes justice, the whole force of which lies in this, that it makes equal those who have come by an equal lot to the condition of this life.
Hobson, John Atkinson. 1914. Work and Wealth. The Macmillan Company: New York.
 The cooperation which assigns all power and all gain to the consumer is in fact vitiated by the same social fallacy as the syndicalism which would assign the same monopoly to the employee, or as the capitalism which does assign it to the profit-monger. Equity and economy alike demand that the interests of all three shall be adequately represented. Social remuneration in its application to the business unit must proceed upon this fundamental principle.
Blissard, William. 1917. The Economic Antichrist: A Study in Social Polity. George Allen and Unwin: London.
 The signal fact by which modern Christianity is challenged is the inherent injustice of existing Order. Civilised life neither exhibits equity of condition nor offers equality of opportunity, since large sections of the population are graded as far below their worth as the remainder is above it. Alike by this degradation on the one hand and the super-gradation on the other the ends of humanity are badly served. The miseries which spring out of this social injustice are colossal and appeal to pity. But the scandal of the age is the in-equity of its system. Suffering is the badge of humanity.
Giddings, Franklin Henry. 1918. Readings in Descriptive and Historical Sociology. The Macmillan Company: New York.
 Next to security in functional order, and as an element in the social welfare, is Equity, a certain compromise and reconciliation of the differing interests and claims of the individuals, the racial elements and the classes, making up the social population. As security is a result and expression of socialization, so is equity a result and expression of both socialization and characterization. To establish and to maintain it is the function of the moral and juristic organization of society. That there may be a compromise and reconciliation of interests, there must be a limitation of liberty.
 Third among public utilities, and in the functional order of the ends for which society exists, is that sum total of Economic Opportunity which society controls, extends, and apportions among its members. … But natural resources, once taken possession of by a social population, are thenceforward socially controlled, and effective utilization is conditioned throughout by socially established arrangements. Actual economic opportunity, therefore, is a social creation — a product of the social functioning, as truly as security and equity are.
Hayes, Edward Cary. 1919. Introduction to the Study of Sociology. D. Appleton and Company: New York.
 We are already more or less familiar with the fact that tenure of land, water rights, and the rights of widows and children as heirs, and the application of the taxing power are not denned or secured by anything in nature, but are regulated in this way or that according to some adopted standard and by some adopted method of social procedure. Distribution as such is a problem in social equity and social organization. The necessary judgments of equity in their main outlines must be formed in public opinion and enforced by custom, morality, and law. The social sciences and the public opinion which they have molded are hitherto chrematistic and not humanistic.
Brown, William Jethro. 1920. The Underlying Principles of Modern Legislation. E. P. Dutton and Co.: New York.
 But the right of the individual, which is infringed by the prevailing monopoly of careers, would be better expressed as a right to equity of opportunity. This terminology, if less definite and attractive, expresses an ideal that is less revolutionary and unpractical, since it admits of a due regard to the inherited structure of society and to the importance of maintaining the integrity of family life. The ideal involves, as I believe, two things. In the first place, it involves the progressive amelioration of material conditions. ‘The home of thirty-seven out of every hundred families in Dublin is a single living-room.’ To suppose that equity of opportunity can exist under such conditions is absurd. Not in Dublin merely, but throughout the industrial centres of the United Kingdom, the home life of multitudes of children is deplorable. At the very basis of every sound proposal for achieving an equity of opportunity is the question of the material condition of the people. In the second place, equity of opportunity demands a prolongation of the period of free education, together with such an extension of the scholarship system as will enable the poorest child of more than average talent to climb to the station of life for which he is fitted.
Wolfe, A. B. 1923. “Individualism and Democracy,” International Journal of Ethics 33(4): 398-415.
 To each individual, opportunity in proportion to his capacity, within the limits of the total opportunity available for all; and from each individual, service in proportion to his developed capacities. This is the criterion of fundamental democracy. Democracy, instead of meaning equality of opportunity, means equity of opportunity, together with service proportionate not to material reward but to capacity.
Hobson, John Atkinson. 1930. Rationalisation and Unemployment: An Economic Dilemma. George Allen and Unwin: New York.
 [The rich] are afraid that a fair approach towards the equality of incomes must mean the ‘confiscation’ of those rents, surplus profits, monopoly, and other excessive gains, contrivers, fortuitous, or inherited, that constitute great wealth. And no doubt they are right. Economic equity will involve a distribution of income and property along these lines, with a larger share for the workers and the State. But this process is the only security for prosperous trade, good wages, and secure employment.
Giddings, Franklin H. 1932. “The Functioning of Human Society: Social Achievement,” Social Forces 10(4): 467-475.
 Knowledge, capital, and government are…necessary to establish equity by balancing equality against liberty.
Weir, Ernest T. 1934. “New Responsibilities of Industry and Labor,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 172(Mar.): 76-87.
 Spellbinders and demagogues, thinly disguised as ‘rugged individualists,’ are loud in their denunciation of pension systems, unemployment reserves, old age allowances, and similar provision, as unnecessary, impractical, and inequitable. Industry, however, defiantly recognizes faithful service and a man’s equity in his life’s work, and is determined that this dividend shall be paid.
 Fair and equitable methods which will probably include unemployment reserves as well as retirement incomes must be worked out, but I feel sure that money, men, and management will find a way, with each contributing toward the common weal.
Dunn, Samuel O. 1935. “Modified Laissez Faire,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 178(Mar.): 142-147.
 It is easy to show with abundant illustrations that in almost every instance in which government in this country has interfered on a large scale in industry or business, it has done so because of the effective political pressure of some group or section seeking to use governmental power for its selfish purposes, and that the result has been impairment…of the economic balance between different industries and classes required to cause the increase of production and the equity in the distribution of income essential to progress and prosperity.
Montague, William Pepperell. 1935. “Democracy at the Crossroads,” International Journal of Ethics 45(2): 138-139.
 The democracy that we have been brought up to regard as axiomatic in its validity is definitely being challenged by more than one country. Its parliamentarianism and liberalism are held to be both clumsy and hypocritical. And its capitalism is charged with being cruel and sordid, unsuited to the age of machine industry because incapable of distributing with any degree of equity the goods that are so efficiently produced.
Keynes, John Maynard. 1935. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. Harcourt, Brace and Company: New York.
 The outstanding faults of the economic society in which we live are its failure to provide for full employment and its arbitrary and inequitable distribution of wealth and incomes.
Anonymous. 1937. “Supplement: The Economics of Isolation,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 192(Jul.): 157-210.
 In certain sections, and especially in the industrial district, real wages had been falling for four years. Apart from the political necessity of introducing social and economic measures on behalf of the mass of workers, a readjustment of their share in total production could not be in equity denied.
League for Social Reconstruction. 1938. Democracy needs Socialism. Thomas Nelson and Sons: Toronto.
[v-vi] To every man-made problem there is a man-made solution, and the problem of producing goods and distributing them equitably is not some blind or ‘natural’ process, but one that man can master. A planned economic system based on social ownership and operated for the benefit of the whole people is the socialist system. It is real economic democracy.
Gordon, Leland J. 1939. “Protection of the Consumer,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 206(Nov.): 75-80.
 Americans have long relied on competition to insure fair prices. In those cases where competition is desirable, monopoly must be stifled by the collective power of government. Where monopoly is more economical than competition, it becomes the function of government to act as an arbiter of prices, seeking equity by balancing the seller’s desire for high price against the buyer’s desire for low price.
Hankins, Frank H. 1939. “Social Science and Social Action,” American Sociological Review 4(1): 1-16.
 While progress was not clearly defined, attention was centered on an increase in the quantity of wealth. With self-interest as the driving force, a reasonable close comprehensive harmony of individual interests as a basic feature of natural law, and an ‘invisible Hand’ to provide reasonable equity in distribution, the system of natural liberty was looked upon as ordained by Providence and hence eternal. That all these doctrines, when viewed in historical perspective, would prove to be purely relative to the social context that produced them, was certainly not an element on the thought of their sponsors.