Equity, equality and appropriate distribution: multiple interpretations and Zimbabwean usages

Planners often talk of equity. Yet little direct attention is given to the concept(s) of equity. This paper introduces several different interpretations or types of equity, with illustrations largely from Zimbabwe. The first section presents a number of concepts of equity. It illustrates their relevance to planners’ concerns by matching them to the criteria used in Zimbabwe for selecting people for resettlement, and by looking at rules for access to communally-held grazing lands and at the issue of positive discrimination. This is followed by a section which provides a fuller, theory-based list of concepts which allows a more precise assessment of differences and similarities among the criteria. A series of public statements on the debt crisis and on rights to land made by leaders in Zimbabwe is then studied to show how the various criteria of equity and appropriate distribution are employed locally. This is followed by an introduction of some possible explanations for the presence of multiple criteria, such as sociopolitical conflicts or plurality, opportunism, or the insufficiency of any one criterion or approach. Arguments as to how the criteria could be combined are also noted. The article concludes with suggestions for further reading. Bibliogr., notes, ref.

Title:Equity, equality and appropriate distribution: multiple interpretations and Zimbabwean usages
Author:Gasper, D.R.
Year:1991
Periodical:Review of Rural and Urban Planning in Southern and Eastern Africa
Issue:1
Pages:1-33
Language:English
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms: Zimbabwe
world
Southern Africa
Abstract:Planners often talk of equity. Yet little direct attention is given to the concept(s) of equity. This paper introduces several different interpretations or types of equity, with illustrations largely from Zimbabwe. The first section presents a number of concepts of equity. It illustrates their relevance to planners’ concerns by matching them to the criteria used in Zimbabwe for selecting people for resettlement, and by looking at rules for access to communally-held grazing lands and at the issue of positive discrimination. This is followed by a section which provides a fuller, theory-based list of concepts which allows a more precise assessment of differences and similarities among the criteria. A series of public statements on the debt crisis and on rights to land made by leaders in Zimbabwe is then studied to show how the various criteria of equity and appropriate distribution are employed locally. This is followed by an introduction of some possible explanations for the presence of multiple criteria, such as sociopolitical conflicts or plurality, opportunism, or the insufficiency of any one criterion or approach. Arguments as to how the criteria could be combined are also noted. The article concludes with suggestions for further reading. Bibliogr., notes, ref.