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a concept in sociology and generally the interaction of society

Fairness is the concept in sociology, law and generally in society, that something should be equal and not be a contradiction to accepted standards. It's related to justice in both the legal and sociological sense. Fairness is also treating others equally or in a way that is considered right or reasonable.[1] Fairness can mean sameness where everything is kept equal by being the same.[2] Fairness can also mean "deservedness" meaning a person gets what they deserve.[2] People who are successful by working hard get what they deserve. People who are lazy and do not work hard get less.[2] Fairness can also be based on need.[2] Those who have more should give more to help others. This is based on the concept that people have obligations to each other.[2] Judges, lawmakers, referees and teachers are among those expected to be fair in their decisions.[3] Fairness is keeping decisions free from any form of discrimination.[3]

In the United States fairness has long been a battle between equality and equity.[4] Equality is the idea everyone should have an equal opportunity.[4] If all the horses in a race start from the same point, the horse that wins is the fastest. Equity is the idea that adjustments need to be made to make things fair for both entities.[4] One should get more than the other because that would be fair in this sense. For example, in the game of golf, when playing a skilled golfer, a less skilled golfer may be given a "handicap" (extra points) at the start of the game.[5] This is to help make the final score fair for both players.[5]


  1. "fairness". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Arthur Dobrin (11 May 2012). "It's Not Fair! But What Is Fairness?". Psychology Today. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "fairness". Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "What is “fairness”?". Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Jennifer Gregory. "What Is a Golf Handicap?". Golf Link. Retrieved 14 February 2016.