In(equality)justice

“A similar lesson emerges from a classic experiment conducted by Franz de Waals and Sarah Brosnan. The primatologists trained brown capuchin monkeys to give them pebbles in exchange for cucumbers. Almost overnight, a capuchin economy developed, with hungry monkeys harvesting small stones. But the marketplace was disrupted when the scientists got mischievous: instead of giving every monkey a cucumber in exchange for pebbles, they started giving some monkeys a tasty grape instead. (Monkeys prefer grapes to cucumbers.) After witnessing this injustice, the monkeys earning cucumbers went on strike. Some started throwing their cucumbers at the scientists; the vast majority just stopped collecting pebbles. The capuchin economy ground to a halt. The monkeys were willing to forfeit cheap food simply to register their anger at the arbitrary pay scale.” (from here)

Why do inequality and injustice rile us so much? It seems that we have an in-built sense of fairness and justice. Perhaps in equality we find justice…

One response to “In(equality)justice

  1. Flip I would have thrown the cucumber back to! It seems the masses strive for fairness when it is not their favour, while those benefiting like to hide away.

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