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The Ethics of Culture of Human Rights: Emphasis on Equal Opportunity and Meritocracy

Source: 12Petals Media Group

“Favoritism”, “Cronyism”, and “Nepotism” are barriers to the culture of human rights cultivation.


In every modern society, ethical issues and ethical decision-making are among the major shared concerns. One of the most basic themes in ethics is fairness. On the concept of fairness and justice, philosopher Aristotle says, "Equals should be treated equally and unequals unequally”.

At the dawn of 21st century, more people around the world are standing up for their human rights. They desire and demand to be rewarded based on merit and character, equality before the law, and equal opportunity. An egalitarian social system that can offer the highest authority and greatest social standings to people with the most talent, ability, and fortitude puts importance and trust on “meritocracy”. [1]

Meritocracy is a philosophy that vests in individuals according to merit. “A meritocracy is a social system in which people’s success in life depends primarily on their talents, abilities, and effort. The idea of a meritocracy has served as in ideology through the argument that social inequality results from unequal merit rather than prejudice or discrimination.” [2]

Hence, “Favoritism” (discrimination) [3], “Cronyism” (favoring close friends) [4], and “Nepotism” (favoring family members) [5] all interfere with fairness and justice. These practices offer favor and special treatment to a person or a group not based on merit, but rather based on friendship, political connection, family, kinship, and personal biases. Competence, equal considerations, integrity, and vocational merits are completely disregarded and overlooked when these prejudicial practices are carried out.

The common good notion (certain general conditions that are to everyone’s advantage on an equal basis) and appeals to the cultivation of a culture of human rights urge us to consider “favoritism”, “cronyism”, and “nepotism” discriminative, unethical, unfair, and unprofessional practices that present unjustified special and preferential treatment.

For the culture of human rights being genuinely cultivated, emphasis needs to be placed on equal opportunity and meritocracy.


1). Meritocracy:
2). Meritocracy as a Social System
2). Favoritism:
3). Cronyism:
4). Nepotism:

Artwork Credit:
Graphic Designer/Artist: Anna Felisha Ott
Art Production By: 12Petals Media Group, Meritocracy. 2013

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About 12Petals: 12Petals Media Group strives to be a union of visual artists, musicians, filmmakers, cinematographers, playwrights, social entrepreneurs and more, all coming together to produce inspired multimedia pieces that promote and encourage respect for those rights protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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