The equality of outcome (equality of results) is a concept of social justice that defends real equality achieved and proven in the field of human rights, both civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights .
(In the novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Dodo tells Alice that “everybody has won and all must have prizes”. One analyst suggested that this quote describes the controversial concept of equality of outcome.)
Equal results in human rights
Compliance with human rights by the various governments is required by the ratification of the various international covenants on them. Thus, there is the International Bill of Human Rights , the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), that may or may not have been ratified by the States. The supervision of human rights is only possible if the real fulfillment of them is verified and confirmed in the different societies and for all citizens, otherwise we would speak of formal but not real equality or equal opportunities for the achievement of some rights but not their achievement.
Formal equality, opportunities and results
The concept of equality of results goes beyond the formal equality that is included in the constitutions and in the legislative corpus but that is neither promoted nor fulfilled neither in content nor reaches the entire population that is creditor of said rights. In this sense, equality of results is opposed to the idea of formal equality and also to equal opportunities, which limits this theoretical equality to an ideal starting point that would be detached from the subsequent process in the development, achievement and verification of the objectives and potentially recognized rights.
Equality of results would not pretend a systematic equalization in all aspects of life, since the factors that condition social diversity, success, failure, disease, accidents … in a society made up of individuals of disparate capacities and subjected to random situations it is not only impossible but unnecessary to ideally guarantee absolute equality of results.
Equality of results is a deontological proposal that focuses on the verification of the rights of citizens, on the result and not on the potential of formal equality.
Formal equality is the basis of human rights that seeks equal opportunities by complying with its articles. There are always situations of inequality – physical, intellectual, economic (inheritance), social and cultural – that make equal opportunities more difficult, in the practical sense. It is the governments, legislative bodies and the judicial system of the rule of law who must promote, monitor and guarantee compliance.
Ideologies that consider egalitarianism and greater social equality a desirable good tend to prefer equality of results to equality of opportunity. Traditionally the political left has been more favorable to equal results, while the political right has traditionally been more inclined to equal opportunities. The maxim of Marxist socialism of “to each according to his contribution”, frequently repeated in the form “to each according to his need, from each according to his ability”, illustrates the idea defended by those who prefer equal results over equal opportunities. Another widely practiced policy, inspired more by equality of results than of opportunities, is the redistributiveness of taxes.