Imagine that due to an excess amount of handwavium, my world has humans ranging from only a couple of inches, to around 20 feet. Society has evolved to include people of all sizes into the workforce and cities (a la Monster's Inc or Zootopia) but after the industrial revolution hit, a problem arose. How do I, the leader of this world, keep wages fair?

Goods cost money to produce on an equivalent value to our system, therefore small items for small people cost small prices and inversely the same applies to large people. Paying everyone equally for the same work creates the problem that giant people will fall into poverty and little people will gain massive wealth. All despite doing the same work for the same hours.

If I pay people differently however, they will receive less/more money in total for the same effort. Even having jobs for certain sizes results in a sort of economic segregation, which is an obvious civil rights nightmare.

Ignoring the impossibility of such creatures existing, how can I assure everyone is paid fairly and equally when people vary in size?

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    $\begingroup$ We already have people of varying sizes and capabilities; the answer seems to be letting people do jobs they're suited for at whatever price is reasonable for that job. $\endgroup$
    – Erik
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 8:15
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    $\begingroup$ First of all, what is "fair"? To pay more to the person that does a better job or to the person that needs more? Everyone should get as much money as they need? Well, people of a certain size should maybe get more tax-free allowance, maybe you should treat it as many treat disabilities. But do not give them more wages or else they will no longer be employed. Minimizing the size of your work force would have a completely different meaning in your world. Please be aware that most stuff like that is done via trial&error and iteratively over decades, theory is worth little here $\endgroup$
    – Raditz_35
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 8:28
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    $\begingroup$ An S-size shirt usually costs exactly the same than the XXL-size of the same shirt. Prices and wages are set by a law of offer and demand, and the raw cost of materials is insignificant. A skimpy bikini is more expensive than a full swimsuit. I don't think the price of items for small people would be much lower than those for giant people. Maybe tiny people could spend less in food and housing, but even that is not for sure. $\endgroup$
    – Rekesoft
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 10:10
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    $\begingroup$ "A world with differently-sized Humans"... That's called Earth! $\endgroup$
    – n00dles
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 11:51
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    $\begingroup$ @FlorianSchaetz: Of course, that assumes the tiny quarter-inch brain is just as capable of mental tasks as the full size variety.... $\endgroup$
    – user2781
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 12:20

16 Answers 16


You don't need to 'do' anything - economics takes care of it

Much like it does in the real world.

There are two different economic issues: Value of work (money in), and cost of goods (money out).

On the latter, sure, it might cost significantly more materials to feed/clothe a larger person, but making smaller goods (and providing smaller services) is significantly more difficult.

Essentially, anyone can sew buttons onto a shirt for the largest individual, but only the smallest can do the same for the smallest. This means the increased material cost would be offset against the need for less available skilled labour. The smaller the goods, the more difficult. That's why microprocessors are not ten-a-penny, and if you're dealing with a ring or lace dress for a two inch individual, is that really going to be less expensive?

Plus think about services, like going to the barbers, not to mention additional costs you would need: e.g. cat protection.

Further the job market would balance according to skillset. E.g. the police, Constables would likely be required to interact with their own populations, but in the larger context a large policeman could catch or spot a fleeing suspect, a small one could spy or examine details, or take something like woodwork: if you were building, say, a chair: a large person transports the goods, saws the wood, the average assembles it, the small engraves the details. Each valuable and necessary, in their own way.

I do wonder how you would stop larger individuals abusing their physical advantage though.

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    $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 2:13
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    $\begingroup$ additionally for larger individuals they have an advantage for many kinds of physical labor, to offset disadvantages at others. Imagine you are a potter, dill porter, or warehouse owner (all require a lot of fast stacking), are you going to hire the 20 foot guy or the 5ft guy and buy a 20ft ladder. higher demand means higher wages. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 15:30
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    $\begingroup$ I'd -1 this if possible, but I can't, so instead, I'll comment: this answer is just incorrect. There's no theoretical justification for the position that free markets distribute resources in an optimal way, in fact most of economics is devoted to the how and why of market failure i.e. why free markets don't automatically do this, and what policy makers can do about this. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 8:48
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    $\begingroup$ "You dont need to 'do' anything - economics takes care of it" That kind of talk got us into a great depression! $\endgroup$
    – user20787
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 8:53
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    $\begingroup$ @goblin - I didn't suggest it was optimal, just that it achieves its own balance - essentially that there are natural advantages and disadvantages to being big, and some to being small, and that the disposition to use to the benefit of both the individual and the employer would even out on a societal scale. For clarity: I think it would still be inherently unfair, but for reasons of privilege and opportunity affording by existing wealth/position rather than size (assuming protection for small people from being abused). Much like both then and now. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 9:24

Why would you want wages to be fair? And what is "fair" anyway?

You don't need a fair system. You need a system that is temporarily stable and which many people believe is the right way of doing things.

In today's world, there are people who are millionaires by the time they are 8 years old, and others who never ever earn a million dollars while working hard their entire life. Yet many people think wages today are fair. True fairness does not exist, it's just an illusion.

So create an illusion. Find excuses to justify why the CEO, sorry, the leprechaun deserves to earn 100 times more than the hard working giant, or vice versa. To keep it realistic, figure out which subrace is currently in power in your world - these will earn more money than the others.

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    $\begingroup$ I oft tell people "'Fair' is a 'four letter word' and an 'f-word' and should be treated accordingly." $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 15:10
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for "What is fair anyway?" Fairness, as a totally subjective measure, is unreachable. What is to stop someone for crying "unfair" when anyone has anything we want that we didn't work for, but they did? $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 20:11
  • $\begingroup$ In some cases it is reachable, for example when sharing a cake. You choose which way to cut it, and the other person chooses the half he likes more. $\endgroup$
    – charlie_pl
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 5:46
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    $\begingroup$ @charlie_pl how do you account for different body size, different taste, different amounts of hunger? Shouldn't the person who likes the cake better get a different amount to keep things fair? Who made the cake? Cutting something in half is not exactly fair, especially if only one person gets to chose which half they get. It does, however, create the desired illusion of fairness. $\endgroup$
    – Peter
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 6:06

Keep prices equal for size-dependent goods and services

Whichever way you try to balance wages, there is still the problem that some goods and services will be size-dependent (food/clothes/transport) and others won't (financial services, mental health, some entertainment). If larger people get higher wages, they'll enjoy a much better relative price for the size-independent services.

So instead, write into law that any services offered must accommodate all sizes and offer equal pricing. Underwrite this with tax credits based on the actual production costs or a percentage sold for each size. i.e. a clothing company that serves 80% huge customers will get much more back than one that markets to the tiny population and sells 90% of units there.

... or go Communist!

As an alternative, adopt communism. With all means of productions owned by local communities, they can divide their profits among the members as needed.

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    $\begingroup$ Say I sell bread, it costs £2 a loaf. I don't care who I sell it to, that's what it costs. Are you telling me I have to measure each customer to work out what price I have to sell it at to that person, log this on my accounts and claim the difference back from the government? $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 9:07
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    $\begingroup$ No chance, I'm going to run a black market using big people to buy bread then sell it to small people at a higher price then claim the tax back anyway because I sold it to the big people at the front of house. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 9:08
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    $\begingroup$ @Separatrix Yes, the amount of bread would depend on the size of the customer, so more of a "day's worth of bread". But you make a very good point regarding the weakness to corruption. Ah well, communism it is. $\endgroup$
    – Cyrus
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 9:26
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    $\begingroup$ I have so many wonderful scams I could run in your society, subletting parts of big people properties to small people is probably the best of them since you're having to artificially inflate small people rent to find any sort of balance. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 9:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Separatrix I'm gonna run a similar one with popsicles but sell the wood as lumber when I'm done. $\endgroup$
    – kaine
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 14:01

You pay people according to the work they do relative to the difficulty of finding people to do that work.

Anyone can do basic admin, it doesn't pay well, smaller people will do disproportionately better out of it. There will by physical tasks requiring greater strength that might require a larger person, if you can't find one then you'll have to offer more money. There will also be delicate or dexterous tasks requiring a smaller person.

Companies without special requirements may well be unwilling to adapt to the smallest or largest when they can cater most cheaply to the mid-sizes, so at the end of the day, expect the people on extremes end of the size scale to be in poverty.

Is that fair? Same work, same pay is fair.

Declining to adapt your facilities for people more than a standard deviation from the mean? That's a legal matter for your society.

Even then your big people are going to be poorer just because of the astronomically different scale of costs they have. They'll probably end up having a fundamentally different society from the small people, a lot more communal housing and catering. A culture based on cost reductions across the board.

All the government can do is enforce equal pay for equal work. To do anything else at that point in the system risks amplifying any already existent discrimination by making one group significantly more expensive to employ than another.

Whether they should choose to subsidise income by other channels is an entirely different question.

  • $\begingroup$ "Same work, same pay" is not fair if people are born differently in ways which means they have drastically different cost of living. $\endgroup$
    – Philipp
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 10:25
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    $\begingroup$ @Philipp why? It is only fair way for employer to pay, isn't it? $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 10:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Mołot Fair for the legal people (companies), but not for the natural people. In that case it should be up to the government to make the system fair again through taxes for privileged people and subsidiaries for disadvantaged people. $\endgroup$
    – Philipp
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 10:30
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    $\begingroup$ @Philipp, that's up to the government to deal with. From an employer's point of view, why should they pay different people different amounts to do the same work? That's just going to incentivise them to pick cheaper people and you end up with an even bigger problem. Before it was a minor detail to get bigger chairs and desks, you've now said I have to pay them 10-1000 times as much as well. An entire town of small people could live under the bed of a big person. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 10:35
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    $\begingroup$ TL;DR: laws, which are up to the government. +1 $\endgroup$
    – Mazura
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 18:49

The simplest answer I can see is that your world would use Piece Rate as the standard instead of an hourly wage or salary as is more common in our world these days.

If you get paid by the amount of work done (rather than the hours worked or a simple flat rate) then a small person who can only make a few items a day (or whatever equivalent work they are doing) gets paid far less than a big person who can make a lot more items.

Of course this won't always hold true and there will be jobs which small people excel at and can make many times more objects than big people, but this will just help lead to a natural stratification of the job market. Big people won't want to do jobs they are bad at and get paid poorly for and small people will seek out these jobs as a preference.

This system is often unfair and leads to people being underpaid and has largely fallen out of use (in First World countries anyway) but I think with the vast disparity in sizes and the differing needs for income it may work better in your world.

The alternate is some kind of caste system where jobs are rigidly assigned based on size and capability and wages are based on this system so everyone gets a fair amount.

As a side note Terry Pratchett makes note of this in the Watch series of Discworld books where a number of Gnome / Nac Mac Feegle policemen are often mentioned to need far less money because they drink thimbles of beer rather than pints and a loaf of bread can last them weeks.

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    $\begingroup$ Just the one Feegle policeman, Wee Mad Arthur, and the relative economy is explained while he's still a rat catcher (and technically a gnome). $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 9:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Separatrix Yeah, I couldn't quite remember if there was more than one or if it was just Wee Mad Arthur. I'm fairly sure he mentions it again later though, when he is a member of the watch. I think it could have been in Snuff or another quite recent one. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 10:05
  • $\begingroup$ "there will be jobs which small people excel at and can make many times more objects than big people" This is true to electronic in small devices. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 17:11

In theory services will be performed by those who can charge the least for them.

Tasks that require giants will be performed by giants who charge a liveable giant wage for them while tasks that requires gnomes will be manned (gnomed) by gnomes who will be paid what a gnome requires to live. A gnome can't perform a giant's task and vice versa (a giant can't even survive on a gnome salary thugh so that's a moot point).

Tasks that require ordinary sized humans will naturally be performed by ordinary sized humans.

Basically you're getting a caste based work market.

And as long as everyone is fine with their lot and as long as there is no inside manipulation from the market players it might even work.

Of course... without religious strictures surrounding the caste system you'll probably end up with employers trying to find ways to sell off a job to gnomes as they'll work the cheapest. So the gnome job market will likely be the most diverse.

The giants get the short end of the stick since they're the most expensive to maintain and their job marked will hold the least amount of diversity. However, you might want to note that keeping giants happy is a societal survival trait. Your society will probably want to find ways of keeping all giants gainfully employed even if it's costly because when a giant with a lot of spare time on his or her hands have an axe to grind it's usually a huge frickin' axe. (The real world comparison to look into would be failed states with decommissioned armies that have not been properly disarmed.)

The obvious way to keep the giants in work would be to finance giant work projects by issuing taxes and levies on the other castes, which has the double benefit of also going towards closing the wage gap. Of course, employers don't really like levies and taxes so there will be controversy surrounding them, at least until the first giant uprising.

The other solution:

You may want to think about completely separate economies. Giants are paid and purchases things in giant money. Gomes use gnome currency. Never shall the two meet.

  • $\begingroup$ "And as long as everyone is fine with their lot ... " Except this will not be very long. Automation will tend to remove giant suitable jobs from the economy far faster than it will remove gnome suitable jobs. Because a) giants are more expensive and you thus have a greater insentive to automate and b) strength and scale is features that automation handles early. $\endgroup$
    – Taemyr
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 11:14
  • $\begingroup$ Well... I agree. I'm aware that being fine with one's lot is not a primary sentient characteristic so I was never really expecting them to be. Hence my quick foray into "incentives for keeping giants happy and occupied". $\endgroup$
    – Doomfrost
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 11:17

You can't be building a world like this, without intending to draw parallels against our own world. And our own world is not fair.

If you are aiming for fairness, you are worldbuilding a world of tedium and boringness. In the real world, whatever system you find to allocate fairness will be found unfair by some.

  • People should be paid proportionally to how scarce their skills are!
  • People should be paid the same per year!
  • People should be paid the same per hour!
  • People should be paid the same per gram of bodymass!
  • People should be paid the same per dollar earned for the company!
  • People should be paid the same per year they've worked for the employer!
  • People should be paid the same per... what's fair?

Fair, as others have said, is obviously an illusion, and in reality people usually try to be fair, so will find some mix of the above, and more, to try to ensure their staff are looked after.

And in reality there will always be people who get the short end of whatever measuring-stick is applied, and will say it's not fair.

Building a world where this issue does NOT arise, is building a bland, beige world. Instead, I'd argue to build a world where these issues are accepted as part of the world's fabric: hardships to be borne, occasionally argued about or overthrown when it chafes too hard, like the caste and class systems that we see on Earth today.

Strikes and industrial action are a good way to explain the non-availability of resources that might otherwise give your characters an easy solution. Oh, no, the car broke down. Why not just call a taxi? Well, there's public transport strike demanding more sections of secure tunneling for the smaller drivers, after that accident last week...

But it doesn't have to be plot-relevant, it's also just a good way to give the story color, whether it's as a casual reference to how the tiny guy gets to boss around a whole business empire of giants, or how the wealthy giant gets to be constantly groomed by a cloud of little people, or whatever.

I wouldn't make wealth be absolutely linked to size, any more than it is to race or gender today. But I'd pick a size and make them the ones with the privilege, whether it's because they can do more skilled work, or are bigger and stronger, or whatever.

You can also play with people's internal stereotypes. You can set up the giants to have everyone assume they are ignorant, but then find an educated one who explains that sure, they move slow, and talk slow, but not because they think slow. Just because momentum, and caution not to hurt those smaller than them. As for the rest, it's caste-related; nobody writes textbooks large enough for the giants, the ivory towers of educational institutions are built to a scale that excludes them, etc etc. Or vice versa: the little ones are ignorant, not because they have tiny brains and lives too short to learn anything, but because they can't lift the textbooks. Entrenchedly bigoted stereotypes between the sizes allows both for lively humor, but also for deep commentary.

Embrace harsh social realities, but only enough to chafe, not to cut.

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    $\begingroup$ Note: Fairly often, when someone says "That's not fair!" they actually mean "That's not unfair in a way that's to my advantage!" $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 21:33

So you have a XIX century economy. Small kids sweep chimneys and work in tight mines. Adults work at steel mills and other places where strength is a must.

To that you can add company stores (and 16 tons).

Also your problem is wrongly created as you assume that large people can do the same work as small people can. Make a test, imagine the 20 feet person try to pass thread through the needle's eye. They can do that if they have a large needle and large thread. But they can't saw intricate things with that. They can do bags, sails and so on.

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    $\begingroup$ 16 tons just leaves you deeper in debt $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 9:45
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    $\begingroup$ You do get one day older though. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 16:34

Size is not the only defining factor for your working-abilities. Not all jobs are the same and size/strength is only one determining factor. In a diverse enough society you may find niches for every species. A large, strong species is better suited for work fields requiring raw strength, like heaving heavy crates or producing large scale iron/steel products depending on your level of industrialisation. A small more dextrous species might be perfectly suited for squeezing into small rooms between machinery and repair it nimbly. Or they might get hired for work with very delicate machinery which requires anything but brute force and strength.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding.SE alex! If you haven't done so already and you a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Have fun! $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 9:14

Make smaller people less intelligent

That way with smaller body you will have smaller strength and smaller intelligence. This means that with smaller cost of living you will also have less-paying jobs, and you can keep the same price for square meter of cloth or pound of bread - and at the same time you can keep same pay for equal job.

Of course there will be some specializations etc, just as there are in real life, but overall it will be possible to balance this system to have average life rate independent on size.


If big people cannot buy things, then you will not get rich selling things to big people and then you are leaving behind an opportunity to make a profit. I think this will be a mitigating factor at least, that will make prices for big people go down.

Another mitigating factor is that big things are often much easier to make than small things. So production costs for small people might be higher even if the material used is less. Of course this is up till a certain point, but I think it will hold for many consumer goods. But big people might be more partial to bungalows and small people to relative high buildings.

I think there are also a number of reasons why there will probably be less giant people than smaller people, but that will depend on your handwavery. Growth into adulthood will be much slower, the number of children will probably be lower and at those sizes there are a number of biological reasons why they might not live to get very old (stress on bones, heart, etc). On the one hand this makes the market smaller for big stuff, but it will also make the number of big people available for your workforce smaller. I think we can agree a giant might be extremely handy for many situations, so this should improve wages.

In the end I think food might be the biggest problem. Perhaps you can provide a sort of communal dining facility where every citizen can get a basic meal that will get him or her through the day, regardless of size. Granted, small people might be able to afford more luxury foods from their disposable income, but giant people can at least choose if they want to use their precious disposable income.


If you have a sufficiently authoritarian system, the solution is simple: Make it illegal for smaller people to buy or use goods intended for large people. This essentially sets up a parallel economy for each size category.

This is actually going on in the background in Zootopia - one of the "crimes" that Nick commits early on is arbitrage of these price differences: he buys popsicles meant for elephants (and is unable to buy them openly) and melts them down and refreezes them [in the climate controlled arctic district] in smaller shapes for hamsters (along with selling the sticks as construction wood).

You can disguise this in various ways - the supposed reason he can't do this is, IIRC, because he doesn't have a business license and safety inspections, but that doesn't explain the absence of legitimate businesses in this niche - one is left to assume that licenses were arbitrarily denied to anyone who made such a proposal. Small species have a district of their own, which was arguably for their safety, but presumably planned and sized to ensure scarcity of land zoned for them (and thus astronomically higher rents than if larger species were allowed to have them as subtenants).


"Paying everyone equally for the same work creates the problem that giant people will fall into poverty and little people will gain massive wealth." That's not really how wealth works. If my shirts cost 17 dollars and Bill Gates's shirts cost 32 dollars; he would not be impoverished and I would not be massively wealthy. I admit that there are other commodities that support your point better than clothing does, like different sized housing and different food budgets. But on the whole, unequal cost of living is a somewhat negligible factor in determining who acquires great wealth. Inherited wealth, the ability to leverage wealth to make more wealth, the ability to own factors of automation, and the ability to get paid for the work each of your employees does are much larger factors in unequal wealth.

It is also the case that, regardless of size, intellect and skill will be a greater indicator of a person's productivity and earning power. So the correlation between size and earning power would not be 1-to-1. But in certain industries, it may be the case that larger individuals may be more productive, or may be able to fill jobs that smaller people can't (e.g. a 10-pound person may not be able to cook or serve food at a restaurant that caters mostly for a 3000-pound peoples' crowd, with stools that are 10-feet tall). This minor advantage in earning power could mildly offset the greater cost of living.

It is also the case that America in the beginning of the twentieth century did not have anything close to resembling equal civil rights for all, nor did it have equal income by race, nor equal income by gender. I'm not sure what the ideological stance of your world is, but in a vacuum, it does not need to be more equal than the real world.

However, if the people of your world are actively striving for approximately equal outcomes for people of different sizes, they could take the following approaches...

  • Decree that certain necessities like food, shelter, and utilities are a universal right. Take public ownership of them. Remove the ability to price them capitalistically for profit, or hoarded. This can especially apply to real estate, which is not man-made, and there's no reason why it should have ever been something people could privately own. Somewhat applies to water as well, but the treatment of water is a man-made activity.
  • Have labor unions that strive to negotiate wages that yield equal wealth regardless of size.
  • A lot of wealth in America's economy gets tied-up in corporate assets, bank assets, and personal wealth. For example, American corporations have $1.9 trillion sitting around in cash. Banks own a lot of real estate that has been foreclosed upon with nobody living in it. This is a lot of capital resources that we allow to be hoarded by non-living entities who don't need them; which we could have instead taxed, added to the federal budget, and maybe given back to civilians. In your world, perhaps people of all sizes could write-off various size-dependent expenses on their tax returns, and then their differing needs would be subsidized by the tax code, which would have higher federal revenue than we have, because the corporations wouldn't be keeping any wealth to themselves.
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    $\begingroup$ I think the point that size is a relatively minor contributor to earning capacity here is good, and is lacking in the other answers. It's also interesting that this depends on the equivalent time period of the society--in pre- or early-industrial societies, physical strength was pretty important to productivity, so the giants would be advantaged in that way. However, in those same societies, food and shelter would be more important fractions of their budget. $\endgroup$
    – tsbertalan
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 15:50
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    $\begingroup$ And, like John says, the giants earning ability in such early societies might outweigh their higher costs. Perhaps in some Star Trek-like future society, scarcity will be reduced enough that the one order-of-magnitude difference in living costs in the OPs population will be an insignificant portion of individual budgets. Everyone's pay (based on skill, intellect, or even basic income) could cover the physical needs of the largest. $\endgroup$
    – tsbertalan
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ But, in the here-and-now on Earth Prime, where salaries generally just barely meet the average needs, income inequality is high, and, importantly, strength is no real advantage for earning capability, I think the giants would be decidedly disadvantaged. It would be very interesting to read an epic story in which the transition across the three societies is examined. Maybe, by the time the post-scarcity society rolls around and they could have survived, you'd have the sad outcome of the giants' population tapering off due to inability to support children. $\endgroup$
    – tsbertalan
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ @tsbertalan - nowadays strength is no real advantage...because we have technologies instead, that may not be invented in a world where getting big people to do the work is easier than creating a machine. Or conversely, small size is no longer the advantage it used to be - small and nimble fingers, or fitting in tight places, in mines/factories (historically child labor), because we have technologies for small-scale work. And by hand, small delicate stuff requires more time+skill to make. Mechanization would disrupt both people's specializations, making here-and-now very interesting indeed. $\endgroup$
    – Megha
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 0:29

Your "equality" would never work outside of some sort of dystopian civilization. Rather than making things "equal" your government should be working to ensure things are "equally unequal." If this does not make sense, continue reading.

Complexities between sizing and pricing.


In our world, producing small items is actually difficult and expensive. We can do that because we had to create the technology to do so. That technology would NEVER have developed in this world.

In their world, it would actually be easy to make small items but only the small can make these items. Similarly, it has been argued that the ease of slavery deterred tech growth. Because slaves were so convenient.

Small people can make things for small people but cannot make many items for the large people. A 3 inch person making a phone, car, or really any item for a 20 ft person is the equivalent of a normal human making a oil tanker or a death star. Even if possible with enough people (and having too many is a human resource nightmare), it is never going to be mass producible. People of size X and X-1 will make items for size X people. There will be some benefits from small people working on electronics for large people, but generally the economy will be somewhat segregated.

Resource Gathering: Resources are located around the globe, separated by vast distances. A society of 3in or 1ft people would have issues gathering ores and minerals. Transportation and extraction would be difficult. Even if small people can make their own items, they need big people to actually gather and move the raw materials.


Stores trying to cater to all sizes would be an utter nightmare. It just would not be possible to keep that stock available. This means either stores are split by sizes, OR stores are just locations to order and have items delivered on demand.

This is not a civil rights issue.

The whole civil rights argument is that a colored (pick one: black, yellow, red, pink striped) man can do the same job as a white man, or a woman the same as a man. A 3 inch person absolutely cannot do the job of a 20ft man, and the opposite is true. They have their roles, and are somewhat restricted by their size. Pretending these people are the same is utterly ridiculous. And any technology you can imagine that MIGHT allow that in our world, might not have evolved or been created in theirs. A completely non-discriminatory (handicap & size based not color) based society is a luxury and is not at all a nature state.

Are all people going to be using the same water fountain, road, building, or side walk? A fountain for a 10ft person might drown a 1ft person. A large car may not see a small car and crush it. Would it really be safe to have an integrated side walk and buildings? Everything would have to be made for large people, which would be difficult and inconvenient for small people. Imagine a 15ft person has a 100 step walk between buildings, now imagine a 3ft person making that walk...

So assuming you read all of this, you are probably asking "Where is the equally unequal?" Here. Some segregation of the economy and society is expected and should be tolerated. Wanting to force a small person to do a big person's job or the opposite is not what you want. "UNEQUAL." What you should be watching is that no one group is actively, hostilely, and maliciously targeting another. They are all people. They all have the same rights, and even if they have different limitations they need to work together. Big people can't just demolish a little person town, because it is in the way. But little people can't just expect to get in the way of big people. "EQUALLY UNEQUAL"


Something that is very important to know in that context: robustness etc. of creatures doesn't scale linearly. And anatomy doesn't scale much at all. Most insects will be fine if you drop them from three foot high onto concrete. Obviously, assuming that people two hundred times taller than an insect should take not much damage from a 600 feet drop, or even a 3 foot drop!, would be completely in error. A six foot insect would have the same problem (that's why they don't exist in that size). Fish seem to be an exception, but then they all aren't good at surviving when there is no buoyancy.

It's even a problem with objects: drop a blueberry and a watermelon the same three feet ....

You might want to be a miser with gravity in your world.


Same Wages + Basic Needs

You should provide everyone with same base wages and basic needs such as shelter, clothing and food. So no one will get very poor, and a wise spender can become rich.

As explained by @david, the small goods and the large goods cost will be somewhat similar as in our real world, people pay same for jeans and mini skirts.


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