I remember that Paola Cavalieri, the editor of the Italian journal Etica e Animali, once said to me: "If human beings have privileges at the expense of nonhuman animal suffering, it would be best if none of them existed: at least we would all be equal".
There is a deep truth in that: egalitarianism, taken to its extreme consequences, would lead to total destruction of all sentient life. Being dead is the only state in which we are all equal. Life is diversity itself.
I was reminded of that when I heard on the radio a discussion about zero-hours contracts, under which an employee must be available for work as needed, will only be paid for the hours worked, and has no guaranteed hours each month.
The recent concerns expressed arise from the emerging of new figures indicating that there could be as many as four times more people than previously thought in zero-hours jobs. The research suggests a million people could be working under them.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development surveyed 1,000 firms and found that up to 4% of the UK workforce were on such contracts.
Zero-hours contracts are on the rise, and is predicted that they will continue to increase, because employers more and more try to find cost-effective ways to meet short-term staffing needs.
Fast-food, catering, hotel, shop-assistant jobs are the most common occupations under these contracts, and also some NHS jobs.
Business Secretary Vince Cable is now concerned that, he said, there is "some exploitation" of staff on these contracts, and he started a review into the state of zero-hours contracts.
A ban on this hiring method is unlikely because many workers actually prefer it, like flexible hours and want to work only occasionally, around existing commitments, but we may see the usual government meddling, restrictions and regulations.
But why on earth should anyone want to force businesses to employ on a regular contract people they don't need or more people they can afford?
This can only lead to potential employers being increasingly wary of hiring, and to a rise in unemployment.
Don't they see that overregulating and interfering is a recipe for more destructive economic outcomes? The labour market must be subject to the same economic (not political) laws of the market as everything else. This is the only way that a modern society can be productive: call it capitalism if you like. The alternative, socialism, makes everybody poor.
But maybe that's what egalitarians really want. As Paola Cavalieri, they prefer everybody to have nothing, which is the only sure way to erase all income disparities.