Essay on The Growth of Wealth Inequality

Essay on The Growth of Wealth Inequality

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In the United States, the gap between the rich and the poor has been substantially increasing over the years. This growth between the rich and poor illustrates the wealth inequality between the social classes in our nation. Although it is impractical to precisely measure the morality of wealth inequality, we can use philosophical thought to determine what makes a political and economic system just. By analyzing the theories of political philosophers, Robert Nozick and John Rawls, it is clear that wealth inequality is morally justified, as long as equal opportunity and concern for justice among a society is provided under certain conditions. 
            Wealth inequality relates to race, gender, and access to health care as there are many wealth and income disparities among these groups of individuals. Justice, efficiency and liberty are the primary moral values when discussing economics and ethics. For example, a free-market system can be efficient because it creates maximizing profits, but can be immoral if it impedes on the liberties of individuals in a society. An economic system that produces an equal distribution of wealth, however, can be immoral as well, if it restricts liberties. Distributive justice, is a term used to describe how goods are apportioned among individuals. There are two fundamental types of distributive justice interpreted by philosophers; procedural justice and end-state distributive justice. 
            The first view is procedural justice, the process by which individuals gain their wealth.  Procedural justice is a non-consequentialist argument focusing on the grounds that if individuals of a society attained their wealth fairly, then there is nothing unjust about an uneven distribution of wealth in a ...


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...ce of justice for all people, since “a free-market system must be limited by the concerns of justice, which is the primary virtue of social institutions” (Mackinnon, 290). Rawls ideas on economic and social justice provide a more just system than the ideas of Nozick because of these concerns for the least advantaged.
Although, people should have a right to accumulate their own wealth and hold onto it, we can see that focusing on the process view can ultimately lead to an end result that is unjust for the society as a whole. Nozick maximizes individual liberties, but he excludes the restrictive liberties that Rawls’s second principle describes. Under Nozick’s theory, those who are least advantaged do not get a fair shot in society. Furthermore, Rawls proves that sacrificing certain individual liberties is morally justified if it creates an end-result that is just.


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