But there's less agreement on how to do that, a point sure to be underscored tonight in the debate between President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney.
In his OurValues.org blog this week, Ross School of Business Professor Wayne Baker explores what Americans think about fairness, and the different paths Obama and Romney outlined to achieve it.
Baker is a leading researcher on values, social networks, and the intersection of sociology and business. He writes that Obama emphasizes tax fairness, while Romney defines fairness as equality of opportunities.
"Which definition of fairness do Americans endorse?" Baker said. "Almost all Americans agree that everyone should have equal opportunities in life. Liberals and conservatives alike agree on this value. But a large majority of Americans—80 percent—also say that the gap between rich and poor is too large."
Each day this week, Baker will discuss a different facet of fairness and what Americans, and the candidates, think about it.
- Baker's Our Values blog: www.readthespirit.com/ourvalues
- Wayne Baker: www.bus.umich.edu/FacultyBios/FacultyBio.asp?id=000278996