John Rawl's Theory Of Justice

Great Essays
A functioning society holds a reasonable amount of unity given that it has minimal conflict, and that it is governed by an order defined with just principles. When determining the organization of a society, the goal is that it would function systematically and morally. In A Theory of Justice, John Rawls introduces his concepts with the idea that society is not stagnant for it is constantly substituted with new, and theoretically better ideas that stop us from reaching a final unjust social agreement. He also argues that the natural liberty is simply a matter of good or bad fortune and that natural liberty should be proven, which involves change. In the circumstances that he provides under the veil of ignorance, it is feasible for different …show more content…
Thus, an equal distribution of benefits and burdens for all citizens would not be a just practice. In reality, people have the right to possess what they work for. This is reaffirmed by Nozick’s inductive definition of the entitlement theory. He claims that only “person(s) who acquire a holding in accordance with the principles of justice in acquisition”, and those who get it by “the principle of justice in transfer…(is)entitled to the holding” (151). Nonetheless, this puts those who are physically and/or socioeconomically disadvantaged in a detrimental position because all the wealth would accumulate in the upper half of the society. To counteract natural phenomenon of varying advantages, Rawls presents compensatory principles that buffers the injustice that can occur. There are two overarching principles of justice that are to be chosen by a free society. The first principle is that “each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive scheme of equal basic liberties compatible with…(those of) others” (Rawls 53). The basic liberties are those that ensure that every person, even the individuals at the lowest point in society holds rights and have some opportunity of move up or down in the social hierarchy.. The liberties are “political liberties...and freedom of speech and assembly; liberty of conscience” and ranges to “the right to hold property” (Rawls 53). In the market economy, a basic …show more content…
It is that “social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage, and attached to positions and office open to all” (Rawls 53). This holds the concept that the poorest in the society will have a greater benefit to provide them the minimal things that satisfy a comfortable living. Although Rawls believes that not taking the natural lottery into consideration would be ideal, his remark on rationality of the original position takes into consideration that such a system can never be implemented in a society where people can work to get to a better social situation. This is why those in the deem the “original position (to be) purely hypothetical” because the initial principles cannot be tested (Rawls 104). The reasoning behind these initial principles is intuition and Rawls states that intuition is utilized when “there exist(s) no higher-order constructive criteria for determining the proper emphasis for the competing principles of justice” (Rawls 30). Society is not stagnant because it is aware of individuality, and people can come into their own views and voice their needs and concerns through their perspective which is bound to change with time. This allows for “equilibrium...of agreements (to be) freely struck between willing traders” (Rawls 103). Consequently, a society of diverse people

Related Documents

  • Great Essays

    ‘Careers open to talents’ are insufficient. Public offices and social positions must be open in the formal sense and all should have a fair chance to attain them. People with the same talents and abilities should have the same prospects of success, regardless of their social class of origin. The second principle is the difference principle. According to this principle inequalities in social and economic goods are only acceptable if they promote the welfare of the least advantaged members of society.…

    • 1985 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Rawls states, “inequalities as defined by the institutional structure…are arbitrary unless it is reasonable to expect that they will work out to everyone’s advantage” (225). The first part of this principle specifies that social and economic inequalities, if they are to exist, are to benefit the least-advantaged members of society, which is the difference principle. An example that was provided in class was that you are allowed to make as much money as you want as long as you are helping benefit the least advantaged because it is only a just society if people are not without a home and basic rights. This principle rests heavily on social institutions being organized so that inequalities of wealth will specifically be the greatest advantage to those worse off. A specific example that further supports Rawls theory of justice would be Whole Foods Market; a multimillion-dollar company that helps to benefit the least advantaged.…

    • 1370 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    One can have citizenship in a capitalist state that will come with certain civil and political rights. However, having civil and political rights are of no use if one does not have social rights which enable one to fully use their civil and political rights. Not having social rights means that based on one’s class one can have access to a mediocre education while others may have access to a exceptional education. The reason why this can exist is because in a capitalist society everyone must fend for himself or herself and those that do not gain access into a high social class cannot benefit like those that do gain access. Those with access to a mediocre education do not fully understand how to exhibit their rights and ultimately have very little economic and physical security in…

    • 787 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    It is difficult to differentiate between fraudulent and honest individuals. Moreover, it is unclear whether the inefficiency of lazy workers take precedence over the diligent workers that are quickly integrated back into the workforce. Overall, we cannot ignore the people that are in a category type that are honest but also high-risk workers for the benefit of greater welfare even if we have a well-functioning private insurance market. As a consequence, mandatory EI is imperative to guarantee all workers against hardship when they go into unemployment. Individuals would also be rational and desire for equality behind Rawls’s veil of ignorance.…

    • 1427 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In this scenario, institutions that are supposed to promote without discrimination, a social contract that supports social cooperation based on equal assignments of right, duties and liberties are choosing to promote a philosophy that above all, works to the benefit of the majority. In doing so, they are making a conscious choice to increase the advantages for wealthier citizens which impact negatively on the opportunities, choices and rights of citizens living in hardship. These hardships ultimately result in a lack of liberty, which should be the fundamental right of every citizen and responsibility of any institution. Hence, even if the Utilitarian theory is conceived as generally bringing greater wellbeing , it is not a fair system. It is from this lack of fairness and its consequences on lack of opportunities and rights that Rawls seeks to identify an alternative theory, one that acknowledges the principle of difference, and ensures a fair distribution of rights and duties that would compensate the weakest members of society from hardships beyond their control and therefore bring them to an equal status with other…

    • 988 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    For Rawls, a practice is fair when none of those participating in it feel they are not only being compelled to give in to illegitimate claims, but also feeling they are being taken advantage of. Therefore, fairness is promoting the freedom of thought and putting equality among all. Rousseau’s ideal society is fair only if the general will of the people is aligned with promoting the equal basic liberties. If not, the ideal society will not be fair under Rawls’ lens because they are not promoting those basic liberties important to Rawls. Nevertheless, this society would be fair under Rawls because the “general will” drives it.…

    • 1251 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The first principle of justice means that every citizen for instance has the freedom to vote and perhaps hold political positions. The second principle of justice consists of two parts. The first is the idea that socioeconomic advantages benefit all people does not mean that every person in a society has equal socioeconomic backgrounds. To express this part of the second principle of justice fully, the difference principle is required. The difference principle essentially states that some people may obtain socioeconomic advantages over others, but that this advantage is permitted as long as the advantage benefits less advantaged…

    • 1024 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    The main concern of this theory is the distribution of benefits and burdens. Also, this theory states that inequalities are bad and should be avoided at all cost. As you can determine this necessarily provides a theory of distributive justice. Tim O’Brien, in a PBS interview described John Rawls’ theories, “A just society as one you would want to live in even of you did not know in advance what your place would be, whether you would be rich or poor, male or female, or what your race or IQ would be”. This highlights the idea that in order to have a just society in which everyone has equal rights the government is to oversee that all inequalities due to factors, outside of our control, are eradicated.…

    • 1941 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Greg Mankiw argues, “wealth inequality is not a problem in itself”. Wealth inequality is the unequal distribution of income and assets in society. Inequality is inevitable in any society, but there are conflicting views on if wealth inequality is a problem for our democratic society or a natural and necessary part of freedom and capitalism. As discussed in the plenary, conservatives view wealth inequality as a good thing, arguing it reflects freedom, fairness, and efficiency of the free market system and a meritocracy system. On the other side of the spectrum, liberals view wealth inequality as an unfair system, favoring the rich and powerful and blocking opportunity for those in poor and middle classes.…

    • 1225 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Normality And Greed

    • 1421 Words
    • 6 Pages

    That is why the Poor out numbers the Rich. Given that we as a society take too many things for granted, it may be easy for an individual to follow the norms of society without necessarily weighing the rewards and the consequences. So, the question is, is it right for an individual…

    • 1421 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays