The Condem coalition is trying to cover up its idiotic sabotage of the recovery by floating fluffy concepts nobody knows the meaning of, in this case, 'fairness. We are invited to decide how much fairness we can afford, thanks to Gordon Brown's socialism (the same socialism adopted by George Bush). And urged to inform on any Scrounger-Bugs we know of. And that is meant to somehow make us feel involved and empowered. The 'Big Society' as the Nark's Paradise.
And so various classic scholars and agony aunts and enthusiasts for ancient slavery are wheeled out to decide what fairness is, and discuss eternal verities and the judeo-christian tradition until its time for the next retail opportunity when we'll be back with the question: 'If you caught your boyfriend wearing your pants, would you dump him?'
Fairness is not an abstract absolute, it is in fact the direct result of the invention of unfairness. Something we didn't know we needed until it was abused. The 1st -generation agricultural settled civilisations would have probably seen the first crystallisation of the idea of fairness in response to the first systematic exploitation.. Ever since then in the resulting hierarchies, one group or other has felt oppressed and exploited by the groups above, and threatened by the groups below because of their exploitation of them.
Before competitive, hierarchical society, 'fairness' would have been the status quo from necessity. Now it is a genuine threat to the structure of the society we live in, which is why it is resolutely opposed by those with most to lose. They see the real danger of justice in an unjust world..
But since almost everyone has almost everything to lose, and often to those nearest in the hierarchy, unfairness is systemic and objectively divisive, instilling mistrust and suspicion as default emotions, with disastrous consequences for the quality of life and the health of society.
Primitive hunter-gatherer groups, like many isolated tribal groups today, would have had no need for unfairness, and not much need for territorial conflict. With such a family structure to the tribe, and such a lot of land and resources to share among nomadic tribes, by far the best strategy would have been to move on - except in time of crisis, such as severe drought.
The point is that while there was enough to go around, there was no conflict, and no 'unfairness'. This is not the great fall from grace it is sometines depicted as. The proverbial Martian observing the course of human history would merely note that we had chosen one means of building cities and kick-starting technological development. Without enough unfairness, we might not have invented the steam engine. But since we did, it would be obvious to the Martian that we needed less and less competition to progress further, and that unfairness had been made obsolete. That Empathy has been the logical, humane strategy for almost a 100 hundred years. That we have had the technology which made competition obsolete for almost that long.
The same Martian would also be placing bets that our ever-expanding consumerism will devastate our eco-system. So while empathy might not be allowed to take its course now, due to the usual rearguard actions, there is no alternative. Our attitudes to property will have to change, and our dependence on conflict will wither away. The usual suspects will scream that this is unfair. That they have a right to more than everyone else, but not for long. Eventually, even they will realise that there really is more to life than winning.