When the professors asked us to pick two of the three components, I immediately eliminated the group project. Historically, they have not been my favorite. Not because I cannot work with others or because I work better alone, but because I fear being the team’s weakest link.
Time and time again we have been faced with people who decide that the effort put into the project is not worth it to them. The rest of the group is then forced to pick up the slack. Naturally, “freeloaders” exist everywhere and in varying acts of life. Freeloading takes many forms. The most common is cheating; most of us understand it is not fair. No person in his or her right mind would ever condone cheating openly. Yet we see people everyday allowing people to read the papers or carrying them along in project. I, myself, help people in this fashion daily in group work in another one of my classes.
What causes this great double standard? Last I checked double standards were also looked down upon. I have come to the conclusion that we all have an innate sense of Rawlsian theoretical concepts. Rawls states that the greatest benefit should be for the least fortunate, in this case the freeloaders. This is only true given that there was a fair equality of opportunity. In our eyes we see equality in those we know (or think we know) could do it but either chose not to or are for some other reason incapable. Cheating, in a way, means succumbing to defeat and our brains categorize this differently. Cheaters have an unfair advantage over everyone else when they use resources that should not be available to them but are anyway. We all have the same basic skill set and we all did get into the University of Michigan; therefore, we are have the same opportunities, but some fall below, thus creating an inequality.
So, what do you think? Do you think our brain differentiates between the two without conscious knowledge? As students, are we obligated to help people to remove the so-called inequality? Does Rawls actually apply to this situation?