Distributive Justice in a Defense of Pluralism and Equality by Michael Walzer

Distributive Justice in a Defense of Pluralism and Equality by Michael Walzer

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Distributive justice requires the philosophical powers of reflection of the greatest theorists. In order to solve certain social issues, the most pragmatic solution must be concocted carefully to solve the biggest loopholes. Michael Walzer is no stranger to the complexity of social inequality. In his book A Defense of Pluralism and Equality, he argues that every society decides on the value of a social good and therefore should distribute those good according to the meanings they have. The social goods (healthcare, office, membership, money, politics, education) are divided into spheres each having their own distributive arguments. Walzer’s acceptance of the pluralistic nature of human group and ideology leads to his argument of a complex equality, one that contrasts the ideas of equality explicit in Rawlsian Liberalism.

In essence, liberalism emphasizes equal opportunity so everyone has equal access to goods. For this to work, political theorist John Rawls proposes a monolithic society, one that creates principles bound by his proposition of an original position (a set of political principles that to which every member of society agrees) behind a veil of ignorance (though experiment which freeing man from current attachments). This form of egalitarianism requires people start at the same realms in life and compensate for what disadvantages may have been made either through socially or naturally. Walzer, however, does not agree with this system. He insists that this system is practically impossible since human cannot detach themselves from their history and membership since the choices have been made. The questions he says is not what rational individuals would choose under universalizing conditions but rather what would ...


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... we should embrace what is already upon us. To transcend social meanings of what people values will not help solving current problems. Walzer’s grasp on the pluralistic nature of human ideology is the more pragmatic solution. Rawlsian distribution of goods is practically impossible since it requires so many rigors to enforce the equality of men. The separation of spheres, however, provides a solution that to which it embraces what humans already have. To create new principles, means that people have to start over and detach themselves. I favor Walzer’s point of view because it recognizes that humans are not monistic but have a multiplicity of ideas that make life more complex than just simple and rational equality. In this sense, the conclusions is that the separation and the recognition of distinct classes of goods is the concept of Walzer’s complex equality.



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