Is It Possible to Reach Total Equality?
The motto of this article is a stanza of a Hungarian poem, written by a Hungarian poet, Sándor Petőfi. He is the most well-known Hungarian poet outside Hungary. Read it and make your judgment:
When all men lift the horn of plenty
in one happy equality,
when all men have an equal station
at the table of justice, and, see
the spiritual light break shining
through the windows of every house
then we can say, no more wandering,
Canaan is here, let us rejoice!
(Petőfi, S: The Poets of the Nineteenth Century, 1847, trans. by Morgan, E)
It sounds like a utopia. It can never be achieved. There have been numerous attempts from many countries, like the Soviet Union and China. The former one failed.
According to conspiracies, the failure was already planted in the 1950s with the construction of the Aswan Dam in Egypt. That dam had (and still has) a huge impact on Egypt according to many views. As we all know, Egypt has played a prominent role in history for thousands of years. We can see millions of remnants of that culture throughout the country.
China split from the Soviet Union at the end of the 1960s and create its version of Communism. This is when the Cultural Revolution began and the Communist Party was beheaded because Mao Zedong wanted to strengthen his power and influence everywhere. This era had passed long ago, but still, it is a taboo. Nobody is allowed to talk about that. Nobody is allowed to talk about the Tiananmen Massacre either when tanks blew away a demonstration organized by students. What is more, given China is a giant country, the country is unevenly developed. There is the Heihe-Tengchong line slicing the country from the northeast to the southwest. 94% of the population lives east of this line. This line is not in the centre of China. To its west, 57% of the area can be found. Besides that, due to uneven development, cities were classified into four tiers. The first tier consists of four cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou (Canton) and Shenzhen. These are the most populous cities in China. Shanghai is one of the most populous cities in the world, with more than 30 million inhabitants, including agglomeration. Here’s a fun fact: it is three times Hungary in terms of population, while the area is about a fifteenth of Hungary. The second tier consists most of the province capitals, like Nanjing, Chongqing, Hefei (to some extent), Hangzhou and so on. The rest are the rural cities. Competition is very high.
The same classification applies to universities. If someone is not lucky enough to get into at least a second-tier university, then he or she will be lost. Employers rely on the origin of the degree. Is it an equal treatment of graduates? No, it is not. It is very unfair, to make matters worse. Therefore, everyone coming from rural areas, are so much in need of education. All of their careers are determined at the famous entrance exam to higher education, the GaoKao. Only one assessment and then your life is determined. It is very unfair. Therefore, it is not possible to reach total equality for some countries on a macro-level.
The closest community to such a phenomenon is the kibbutz system of Israel. It is a community based on agriculture and the wealth is in the commons—there is no private property. Everyone gets compensated proportionately. They even eat together in the communal dining hall. These kibbutzim are declining in number nowadays. These collective communities were forerunners of reduced inequalities.
How can we make efforts to reduce inequalities?
By taking actions, such as building schools with specializations. That is, mixing the original curriculum with an increased amount of certain subjects. This will help to form open-minded people, who are very aware of current issues.
Fortunately, mine was one of them. My school specialized in music and the Kodály method is applied. But what about the other subjects? Are they going to be removed from the curriculum? No. Some subjects will get more emphasis. Let me mention my school as an example. Music is a very complex discipline. You cannot be a good musician or composer if you do not excel in a variety of subjects. Most importantly, you have to excel in math and physics. If you want to write a song, on top of those two, you have to be good at literature, grammar and history.
Where do you need math in music?
Composing. You have to know which tempo is the best, you have to determine the note value and so on. That is why it is extremely important to count well when composing or conducting. Many conductors are originally mathematicians. You need even more math when composing music for the lyrics. You have to be aware of the length of words, like how many syllables they have. Then set the note value. Then, you have to adjust the notes so that the lyrics remain intelligible. Singers must be aware of them as well. I was also a choir singer in my school. You get the foundations through such a curriculum and then go to choir rehearsals to put them into practice.
These choir rehearsals taught me why it is important to have a team and why it is important to understand that everyone is equal. Rivalries lead the class and the school nowhere. That is why it is crucial to conceal social inequalities at school, like applying a uniform policy. Then it will be an honour for the kid to be at school and on the stage. Later on, at work.
Another tool for reducing inequality is that leaders should be role models for everyone in the world, like the ones in Canada or Austria. Canada is idolised because it promotes that it does not matter where you are from, they welcome you. Why is Austria an idol? Because they showed us that you do not have to be over-regulated and over-stressed. They never introduced Reinheitsgebot (purity law of Bavaria), still, they can make excellent beer. They have very well-known brands, and their beer culture goes back to the 13th century. They also show us how to live without nuclear energy and turn to renewable energy at all costs. Besides that, Austria is like a heaven for music. Everyone knows Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn. Yes, music education is crucial for Austria, that is why the education system produces idols in the world to reduce inequalities.
Another tool for reducing inequalities is restructuring the welfare system. Let me mention one example, which should be followed: Finland. When a woman is pregnant, the state provides her with a big box, which contains clothes and accessories for her newborn baby. Of course, there will not be a baby bed. The best thing is that: it does not matter whether it is a son or a daughter. These baby clothes look excellent on any gender. Besides that, these supplies are enough for the first few months. Of course, there is another option, the financial benefit. However, nobody chooses this, if the first option is that promising. Therefore nobody is left out, and everyone receives the same treatment. More importantly, it does not matter how much the parents earn. All children are equal. It cannot happen that families do not have a child, just because they cannot afford one. If a woman is pregnant, let us help her with this box of love, in the form of baby clothes, as these will be important for her. Because there are many things which can be bought for money, but life is not one of them.
What does that mean?
Nobody can be bought in Finland. Finnish people are precise and punctual. They need acts and facts, not words. They know where demagogy and populism begin and end, and why it is not a good idea to let them into the parliament. It is not enough to talk huskily to the people promising this and that. Make an effort, not an excuse for not being able to achieve your aim.
In this article, I mentioned three tools to reduce inequalities. Full equality cannot be achieved, as it could be in Canaan. But we can reduce it by applying these three tools, initiating a slow process. Of course, there will be people who would not like my ideas. But what can we do? We cannot make a system which is liked by everyone. Hypocrisy leads nowhere.
– Gergely Lázár
- The full poem of Petőfi can be found here
- Aswan Dam
- Heihe–Tengchong Line
- If you want to know how difficult Gao Kao is, watch this
- If you want to know what a Finnish baby box is like, watch this
- Created and Edited by Greg@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
- Illustrated by Oguz@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
- Edited and Published by Lee@Whatareyoustillwaitingfor.Space
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The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of #WAYSWF.