Is Justice Profitable?

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Is Justice Profitable?

Glaucon attempted to prove that injustice is preferable to justice. At first, Glacon agreed with Socrates that justice is a good thing, but implored on the nature of its goodness? He listed three types of “good”; that which is good for its own sake (such as playing games), that which is good is good in itself and has useful consequences (such as reading), and that which is painful but has good consequences (such as surgery). Socrates replied that justice "belongs in the fairest class, that which a man who is to be happy must love both for its own sake and for the results." (45d) Glaucon then reaffirmed Thrasymachus’s position that unjust people lead a better life than just people. He started that being just is simply a formality for maintaining a good reputation and for achieving one’s goals. He claimed that the only reason why a person would choose to be unjust rather than just due to the fear of punishment. This is supported by the story of the shepherd who became corrupted as a result of finding a ring which made him invisible. He took over the kingdom through murder and intrigue since he knew there could be no repercussions for his unjust actions. In addition, Adiamantus stated that unjust people did not need to fear divine punishment since appeals could be made to Gods’ egos via sacrifices. Finally, Glaucon gave an example of the extreme unjust person who has accumulated great wealth and power which he juxtaposed with an extreme moral man who is being punished unjustly for his crimes. Clearly, injustice is preferable to justice since it provides for a more fruitful life.

“Is justice profitable?”

Glacon’s argument to Socrates may appear very convincing at first glance. People who succeed in li...

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...s less likely.

Last but not least, injustice does not provide the most good for the most number of people. Just acts spawn other just acts just like unjust acts spawn other unjust acts. If everyone behaved unjustly, mankind would return to a state of nature (everyone is for themselves) which would be very unprofitable for the unjust individual due to a decreased likelihood of survival. An action is clearly unprofitable for the unjust individual if it would eventually create a hostile environment for him. Hence, one should set an example for others by living a just life which would create a better environment for him as well as for others.

To sum up, justice is more profitable than injustice because it does not lead to true happiness, it gives way to possibility of punishment, and it creates a pattern of behavior which if universalized would lead to disaster.
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