The Role of Justice in Society Through the egalitarian reasoning of John Rawls and the act-utilitarianist perspective of J.J.C. Smart, I will analyze the concept of justice. In accordance with Rawls, I intend to argue that any changes in society that will increase the burden carried by the poorest 5% are unjust, even if these changes increase the average level of happiness for the other 95%. With regard to ethics, justice is defined as fairness, where all situations should be treated alike. For one to exhibit justice, one must portray the quality of being fair and reasonable in all situations.
To realize the aforementioned thesis it is important to first define equality of opportunity. Within the definition, many reasonable objections will surface, but through disputing common theories on distributive justice, it will be relatively simple to recognize the following: EOP is the most rational form of distributive justice given the inherent nature of society, it eliminates a vast number of inherent inequalities, and is the most efficient form of distributive justice if equality of opportunity can be granted. The task then is to adequately define Socialist EOP. This in itself, like defining most distributive justice schemes, is a complex matter. However, it may he... ... middle of paper ... ...n my opinion, the nature of society includes a communal ideal that does not let those less fortunate suffer irrationally.
The moral limits of contracts is to be fair and the hypothetical agreement with the government is to have justice an a independent standard of fairness. Rawls theory of distributive Justice is not base on arbitrary factors. It is base on difference principle of distribution which sets aside contingencies about the person and social positions. Equality is having a veil of ignorance that results in a mutual benefit . If it is partially the help or money of the poor that give wealth unto the privileged.
Rawls defines justice as fairness as the choices made in the original position, saying, “They are the principles that free and rational persons concerned to further their own interests would accept in an initial position of equality defining the fundamental terms of their association...This way of regarding the principles of justice we shall call justice as fairness.”(10) By assuming people in the original position could only make rational, unbiased judgements, Rawls claims principles reached in this position would be the most just. Considering the veil of ignorance creates a lack of knowledge about individual positions and personal conceptions of the good, choices in the original position are limited in ability to unfairly distribute economic and political advantages. Although named justice as fairness, Rawls theory does not attempt to redistribute primary goods among all member of society, rather it only attempts to show how the principles chosen in the original principle would benefit all members of society. With the introduction of the original position, Rawls intends to show how justice as fairness is a more attractive choice than utilitarianism. In defin... ... middle of paper ... ... equality would be chosen under the original position.
Thomas Nagel elaborated further about Socioeconomic Justice as he claimed: It depends on positive rights that we do not have against all other persons or groups, rights that arise only because we are joined together with certain others in a political society under strong centralized control. It is only from such a system, and from our fellow members through its institutions, that we can claim a right to democracy, equal citizenship, nondiscrimination, equality of opportunity, and the amelioration through public policy of unfairness in the distribution of social and economic goods (2005, p. 127). Thus, he concluded that everyone may have the right to live in a just society, but we do not have an obligation to live in a just society with everyone. The right to justice is the right that the society one lives in be justly governed and secured by institutions. I will disagree with the first and second premises and support the third regarding socioeconomic justice.
One of Rawls' critics argues that Rawls' approach assumes that the resources to be (re-) distributed to implement his principles of justice are treated as if they are not already owned by the current holders and, consequently, disregards the effect redistribution would have on those persons' lives. Hitherto, this claim has no basis to stand or even damage Rawls’ overall arguments. The two aforementioned principles essent... ... middle of paper ... ...e main goal for a society should be to develop a fair system over time in which social cooperation is maximized overall from one generation to the next. Stemming from that goal, the most important claim in the work posits that the equal distribution of resources leads to the most desirable state and that inequality can only be justified by benefits for the least advantaged. In making that claim, Rawls retroactively pointed out to the fact that people have inherent rights to the things that they produce as this is only natural (from the first principle).
John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice holds that a rational, mutually disinterested individual in the Original Position and given the task of establishing societal rules to maximise their own happiness throughout life, is liable to choose as their principles of justice a) guaranteed fundamental liberties and b) the nullification of social and economic disparities by universal equality of opportunities, which are to be of greatest benefit to the least advantaged members of society , . Rawls’ system of societal creation has both strengths and weaknesses, but is ultimately sound. One strength is the inherent compulsion to look after the interests of the entire society through the Veil of Ignorance. One is unable to look after the interests of a single particular ethnic, political or social grouping because of uncertainty regarding which groups they will belong to within society, so they grant all individuals “freedom of thought, [religion], personal and political liberties” . This establishes a precedent of equality for all and ensures a fair standard of living.
Rawls proposes that the most reasonable principles of justice for a society are those that individuals would themselves agree to behind the "veil of ignorance", in circumstances in which each is represented as a moral person, endowed with the basic moral powers. What this position supports is that while each person has different ends and goals, different backgrounds and talents, each ought to have a fair chance to develop his or her talents and to pursue those goals - fair equality for opportunity. It is not a race or contest where the talented or gifted prevail, it should be complete cooperation among all so that there may be reasonable life for all. What the "veil of ignorance" brings out is that we can accept utilitarianism as a public conception of justice only if we are prepared to let someone be subject to conditions we would not be prepared to subject ourselves. However, it is not the responsibility of my actions to ensure the fulfillment of another persons goals.
It isn’t society’s duty to ensure everyone’s happiness, but rather to ensure that all people are given the opportunity to be happy. This means doing away with excessive income gaps and creating opportunity for advancement in society or social mobility, bringing the... ... middle of paper ... ...on the other hand, seeks to promote happiness as an end in itself. Reasonable and moderate versions of both theories really warrant the same action in most cases; for example, giving to charity and avoiding unfairly produced goods. The differences in suggested action only emerge in a few unique situations; the real distinction is in the underlying beliefs supporting the two theories. Deontology promotes a fair opportunity at happiness and self-advocacy, whereas Utilitarianism’s objective is the promotion of happiness.
As stated, Mill believes that an action is right if it promotes happiness and an action is wrong if it promotes pain. Second, the principle of utility does not focus on an individual’s happiness but it focuses on the overall happiness. As stated, “first laws of social arrangement should place the happiness or the interest of every individual as nearly as possible in harmony with the interest of the whole” (Utilitarianism, 17). The principle takes into consideration the happiness of others and does not allow you to only think of yourself, this incorporates the idea of equal treatment to the principle. Another element to the utility principle is consequentialism, which is defined, as what makes an... ... middle of paper ... ...le of utility, helping the family would promote the most happiness because it’s a greater number compared to only one person.