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New Book Claims Equalities Industry is Undermining True Equality
A new book published by sociology professor Peter Saunders slams the “British Equalities Industry”, and concludes equality laws are fundamentally flawed. Publishers Civitas go so far as saying equalities legislation is perversely undermining the very principle of fair treatment.
The book entitled “The Rise of the Equalities Industry” argues current equality initiatives are nothing more than an unachievable statistical utopia, creating a financial strain on the public sector, while making it harder for businesses to create and retain jobs. Disparities in incomes and other outcomes are because of individual choice the book argues, but too often this used as evidence of discrimination.
The book argues that in essence, every statistical deviation from the population average in an organisation is taken as evidence of prejudice. But these choices are more to do with “choices and priorities of different genders and cultural backgrounds”.
The work of Equality and Diversity practitioners is seriously called into question with the book concluding ultimately, 'equality' is being redesigned from something in which everyone can expect to share, to a scarce resource that will only be available to groups that are selected to have their voices heard in policy circles. Different rules will apply to different people depending arbitrarily on their group characteristics and affiliations. Saunders warns that this zero-sum approach to egalitarianism will make Britain less free and less fair:
Publishers Civitas have been labelled a “rightwing think tank” and have had their objectivity and methodologies often called into question. There has been little response from the Equality and Diversity community to the books claims, but this may be due to the perceived credibility of Civitas – see link below.
What do you think about the books claims? Please feel welcome to comment.


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Comments for article #404
tony - Date Posted:01/01/2012

The authors are (nearly) spot on. The notions of fairness and equality are near-opposites, as different paths of life afford a plethora of choice, including the decision to contribute more or less to satisfy the needs of others. The notions of equality and diversity are also near opposites, for a similar reason: a society cannot rationally both maximise its diversity and equality (except when the definition of the former is warped into becoming a myopic, political definition which ought have a different word). Children of divorced couples (especially without fathers), disabled people, families with disabled members, those suffering losing term illness, those perceived somewhat less good looking as children (so receiving the oft-acidic wit of other children), victims of crime, those suffering family trauma etc etc are all people who are victims of matters outside their control, having the potential to suffer a much more profound impact on their lives than due to an inherited skin colour or sexual orientation et al. My own view is that your bodies should be set up to tackle circumstance, not replace one form of unenlightened racism and other isms with a peevish counter movement. Beyond what Civitas says, I would also like to understand the role that continuing to label groups as victims (as you do as a raison d’etre) plays on the self-image of group members over time (and their propensity to label themselves as victims, suffer lower esteem, perceive any experienced difficulty as a social injustice, project the blame for their free choices on to others etc), versus the real prejudices they face (i.e. where others deliberately treat them less favourably). For these reasons, for me at least, I am afraid your industry has long been self-serving cash cow to most, fuelled by envy and self interest. The veneer of ethical credibility has long gone, as you cherry pick causes based on their ability to support your woefully imbalanced and superficial narratives, rather than because human beings need a helping hand.

Lena - Date Posted:08/12/2011

May I suggest that the author might also be trying to make a buck or two out of the 'industry'? When we encounter individuals who do not want to embrace key equality concepts, they appear not to have considered that we've come across their type before. But this is the first time I've come across someone so defensive that he's been driven to write a book about his narrow-minded irrellevant opinions. At the root of it, he probably feels threatened that his position of advantage might be at risk. There's a way to go before that happens!

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