Scott Adams once again was playing philosopher the other day and tackled a pretty important topic: fairness.

Imagine trying to “fairly” divide ten identical marbles between two kids. You could give five marbles to each kid, wave your arms and declare it fair. The kids would probably agree with this arrangement. The illusion of fairness works.

Is five marbles apiece actually fair?

Don’t you need to know how many marbles each kid already owns? What if one kid has a thousand and the other has none? The marginal utility of an extra marble is much higher for the marble-poor kid.

Why is this so important? Well, look at the Middle East, for example. They are fighting, at least in part, over a fair division of the land previously known as Palestine. And what is a fair partition of Palestine? The Iraelis believe the current partition is more than fair. The Palestinians beg to differ. Many have said it would be fair to have the UN run Jerusalem, but is that really the most fair way to do it?

Author: Eric Mesa

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