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Equality is not a necessary condition for fairness

I've just recently moved to a new house for the start of another year in uni. The rest of my colleagues live locally, so they've already moved in before me and set some rules for the house. One of them being the cleaning rota. Four of us takes turn with the duty, and we get a week each.
It so happens that the list is not updated so my name wasn't there and I don't know who's next or when their turn will start.
It so happens that it was my turn last week having realised from being told so by a friend with the tone of voice that suggests the belief that the current overall dirtiness of the house is my fault. But that notification was also coupled by a request for me to take out the bin which has accumulated to 2 full bags without my contribution.

The bathroom is fine, but there are very faint, old layer of grime that is hard to come off and I took some time before I start my shower every morning scrubing them out. Which I made sure I had enough time to guarantee no bathroom crashing by finishing everything up before 8.

I am the only one in the house that clean up all the pots and pans I've used immediately after I am done with my meal.
It is very typical that you see plates left on the drying rack, and unwashed cookery still in the sink. Everything pile up, and so dirty I dry my plates in my room, and keep them in my room.
I rarely cook partly because I know of only a handful of dishes, but also partly because I would want to clean up the whole kitchen first before I even start preparing.

I don't want to depend on the cleaning rota because my average contribution on the dirtiness of the house is already negative. If I do no cleaning 3/4 of the time, I don't think I'll ever use the kitchen.

I am not even sure how much this 'cleaning rota' covers; it would be absolutely ridiculous if it includes doing the dishes. Every single day, you get at least one set of bowl and spoon left in the sink that will still be there when it's time for supper or even the morrow. You get unfinished dishes from yesterday's dinner still on the table in the morning. Washing is done generally in a I-need-it-I-wash-it basis and not I-used-it-I-clean-it basis. Same goes for the rest of the kitchen. This is utter madness!

I don't want to say things without first having a plan, mostly because I've seen failed attempts at them trying to tell each other off.
One makes use of denial (''No, I don't''), the other a hypocritic argument (a you-did-it-too sort of thing regardless of the magnitude). One can see that most of these are almost instinctual defensive mechanics of some sort to avert guilt and shame as soon as possible. But of course this is irrelevant to the matter at hand without due observations. This is a sign of the lack of argumentative composure. The whole experience just wasn't a pleasantry for any party.

The subject title of this blog post is rather misleading now, isn't it? But one would want to abstract away from the specific. At one level, it seems useless to me to set up a cleaning routine when the cleanliness habit isn't there in the first place. The system even allows for one to place a blame to a single agent with comfort, but of course, along with a false sense of security and righteousness. On another level, this provides an example that a seemingly fair system that distributes duty equally among participants isn't necessarily fair or optimal.

4 blog comments below

I'd approach it the other way round and accept everything is unfair and unequal and work with that expectation instead. Equality is impossible as each person's cleanliness habits would be different. It's your individual choice to behave in the clean way you do, but if you participate in group behaviour where rules have been created for cleaning on a rotation basis, then it probably would be a good idea in the interest of getting on with the others to do the cleaning rotation when it is due, whether you had cleaned up behind yourself everywhere or not, or whether the rules are unfair or not.
deanhills on Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:08 pm
I also came to that final conclusion although I think that it is an unfortunate one.
It seems to me that many things, including this one example of a cleaning rota, is simply an instantiation of the fishing for the man instead of teaching him how to fish analogy.

I think the advice you gave at the beginning will come to be very useful to me (:
Sylin on Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:23 pm
I like the fishing analogy. An you're right of course. Could also be like the ugly duckling you're not among your own flock? If you had been with your own flock, there wouldn't have been the need for a rota.
deanhills on Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:56 pm
As an international student, I always go with the cultural immersion rather than sticking with the people from my own country. I know a group with their own house and everything, but it seems like trying to set up a new programming language to behave like the first one you've learnt or something rather than using it as it is meant to in all its glory, I don't know.
But that is a very interesting point for sticking with one's own group. It does have its own advantages, ones that I seem to have taken for granted.
Sylin on Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:51 pm

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