Are you a professor of Philosophy, per chance?
An absolutely understandable approach, which is actually quite different from mine. I tend to "wipe the slate clean" as it were, and allow the culmination of connections to reveal itself. It gives me a rather mechanical approach to many things, which is likely why Dramatica appeals to me as much as it does. To me, it feels much like programming or mathematics, while still allowing an insane amount of creative freedom.
But, now that I have a better understanding of what you seem to be looking for, if you'd allow me, I'd like to try a different explanation. Hopefully, I'll be able to present my thought process behind it as well, and maybe allow you to follow a path.
When I first read the word "inequity" or "Inequity", I had no concept of meaning to which I could attach the word, and definitions didn't help. As you did, I found the example of a car and a desire for a car. I also tried to reconcile that language with experience, and I read it as "something to want" and "something wanted."
However, I felt unable to reconcile this wording with certain other stories. Star Wars is one; my current WIP is another. Even Captain America: Civil War seemed to not quite fit. I had thought I missed something in my understanding, and I assumed that I was not being specific enough in my choice.
From there, I turned toward psychology and the theories about what desire actually is. These helped some, but they only brought me so far. Most claim desire is an internal feeling involving the mismatch of the current world and a perceived, possible, future world. This definition of desire so strongly resembled Jim's explanation of [Ii]nequity that I tried expanding my own interpretation per my research.
That expansion went from "something to want" and "something wanted" to something more closely resembling what you have in your original post. I tried as a definition, "The way a character perceives the world and what is possible in that world does not match the way the world actually is." Again, this brought it closer, but it didn't feel like it quite reached what Jim was getting at.
Thus, I applied a different sort of thinking, and tried to look for the Inequity in these movies. For Star Wars, I asked what the characters could see? My interpretation was that the characters could see a world in which they were no longer under the thumb of the Empire. With that, I asked how that world really is? Again, I interpreted it as a universe in which the Empire exists. This certainly feels like an imbalance, but was it an/the [Ii]nequity? Well, that would seem to depend on who you ask, and it absolutely doesn't match the conventional wisdom of an "Inciting Incident". I couldn't be sure, but I accepted it as close enough for purposes of use.
To really to to get a handle on what an Inequity may or may not be, I then tried to apply it to my WIP. I asked what my characters want. They, generally, want to know more about the myths and history of their world, especially how such history and myth derived. Then, I asked how the world currently is. Well, the answer: It's a bit warped, as there is both the spirit world and human world, either of which barely hang on to the other through myth. This, to me, didn't feel like what an/the [Ii]nequity was said to be. Time for another approach to define that elusive concept.
The new approach was to explore the gestalt of what connects all the characters, the POV (Main) character I chose, and why the story exists in the first place. This involved thinking about why I wanted to write the novel in the first place. Here are the reasons:
- I have a character that was forced to shift into a spirit form.
- I have a Dual World in which the actors in either mirror the other, and both worlds are unaware of the truth of the other, at first.
- I have the POV character either accidentally calling, or being called, by the spirits. (Still figuring that out.)
However, none of these, as separate occurrences introduce any true imbalance into the fictional world. To see this, think about whether any of the statements can truly cause problems if left alone. It seems something needs to be added, or all three need to be mixed before a story can develop. Thus, I came to the conclusion that an [Ii]nequity is not completely knowable, but must be felt within the context of a story, as it requires a number of points before you can truly find what it is.
The results of this investigation led me to believe that it is extraordinarily easy to point out what an inequity isn't, but to point out what it is requires showing it in context. Without context, there can be no inequity.
Wow that was a long post. Hopefully, I managed to write a path instead of a definition, though.