Skip to content


It is fundamental for us to operate from a standpoint that declares that the world is unfair.

The just-world hypothesis explored in psychology centres on the belief that a person’s actions will always bring about morally fair and just consequences. Conversely it is often used to suggest that therefore consequences must be in direct response to morally equal actions. It is a fallacy that has bled into common parlance. An example of this is: Good things happen to good people. Or: if you work hard, you will get what you deserve. The absolutes are to be read between the lines: if good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people then what does it mean if bad things happen to good people? Were they actually bad to begin with? Additionally if working hard leads to success and not working hard leads to non-success then are people who society deems ‘unsuccessful’ not hard workers?

This type of thinking actually interrupts one of the most important human attributes: empathy. It leads to victim blaming and the divorce of social responsibility. Those who have been marginalized in any way by a system that supports others know this truth without a doubt: the world is categorically unfair. It is unfair for someone to be insulted, or fired, or harassed, or murdered for their social identity. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people.

Why is this important? For those of us higher up on the food chain, it is more than a little seductive to consider that our high placement can only be attributed to our own merits and work. Quite simply, acknowledging the truth about how the world operates helps us to come up with meaningful solutions both on a macro and micro level. On a macro level I will always support active policies and governments that take strong stands in resettling and accepting refugees. I can acknowledge that their circumstances are by no fault of their own and they are just as deserving of feeling safe as I am. On a micro level I can acknowledge that the man who lives on the streets in my neighbourhood is my neighbour. I can look him in the eyes and feel the kinship of humanity.

Life is unfair. The world is horrifically unbalanced. Terrible things happen every day. Let us allow ourselves to be emboldened by this fact.

If the world is unfair, what are we going to do about it?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: