What should we do about equity?
When social systems systematically deny some people access to goods, the net badness of that is more than would be expected just by summing over how bad it is for each person not to get the thing. If we both have a dollar, it is a better world overall than one where I have two dollars and you have one cent. Fairness is valuable, and systemic racism is icky.
It also has a way of falling down that “memory hole”. People who can like to forget it still isn’t a solved problem.
It seems like there was the appearance of an attempt to apply a constraint, to prevent people with systemic power from getting the scarce good unless people without that power had gotten it. That constraint seems to have been both costly to try to impose (because, for example, it resulted in a lot of wasted doses), and also not very effective (because, for example, it involved residency requirement hoops that everyone should have known would have the opposite effect). It’s entirely possible that the whole project was actually a scam, and not a genuine attempt to apply an effective equity constraint at a manageable cost.
But the correct alternative is not to just not apply any equity constraints. If you apply a constraint that is a net benefit to the people it is supposed to help, and a larger net cost to the people it is constraining, it is justified if it evens out a large enough systemic difference in well-being.
We should look at why California’s equity constraints seem to have failed to produce any equity, why they were so costly, and why they were able to masquerade as a real attempt to produce equity if they were not.
We should not abandon the notion that equity is a good thing that is worth paying a net cost to get.
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Another entry in “computer security that can be bypassed by asking politely but firmly”?