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John Rawls' The Laws of Peoples - Essay Example

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Rawls says that equality is just, but that inequality is sometimes acceptable. I agree only in part: inequality is never acceptable. This is an extremely contentious point: all people are created equal, is our bold point. It seems patent that some people are gifted and some are not; it seems patent that some peoples have a certain gift - such as the Teutonic race in the case of music…
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John Rawls The Laws of Peoples
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John Rawls' The Laws of Peoples

Think of a brother and sister, having happily grown up in the same house; one goes on to become a millionaire and the other is steeped in poverty. In such a case, too, we must ask: where is justice Cannot their wealth be pooled together, giving rise to a state of happy existence similar to when the two were children It is the world with its differential preferences for different virtues that gives rise to inequalities, and we must do what we can to minimize the phenomenon.
Coming to Rawls' reasons for reducing inequalities, he says that one reason is to reduce the hardships of the poor. Why are the poor poor in the first place Naturally, the poor are so because they were born poor, and rising from a depth of poverty is, in many cases, well-nigh impossible. We all know the story: poverty leads to crime, crime leads to imprisonment, which leads to further poverty a society, if it to be civilized, must first ensure that none of its citizens are allowed to fall into the hell-hole that poverty is.
The second reason Rawls gives is that some people may be treated as inferior if inequalities exist. Here, we need only take the ancient Indian society, for example: there were (and still are) four castes. The first was the priests and teachers; the second was the warriors; the third was the merchants and such; and the fourth was those that did menial work. To each his role. It was natural for a priest to look down upon a menial worker, and the society was for centuries in that condition - but only until, as is natural, human nature took over and the priests began demanding too much. To call a menial worker "lower" than a priest was to call a spade a spade: we now need only look at Indian history to see how that system failed.

Rawls goes on to hint at the idea that inequalities are designed to serve the many ends that peoples share, and that each makes contributions according to capacity. I can tentatively accept this viewpoint, but must question the ideality of a society that allows naturally gifted people to be treated in a superior way. It is human nature, yes, but it is the role of a society to minimize such aberrations.

Continuing in this socialist vein, I agree entirely with the premises of the resource distribution principle and the global distribution principle, particularly the latter. A people gets to a happy situation by developing, on its own, a structure conducive to the production of wealth. This is due to the natural gift of that people to do this. Consider, for example, the Mongoloid virtue of hard work. The culture of that race is based around the idea that hard work is fulfilling; that hard work is a duty. And what do we see reflected in the real world One can take any case one cares to - Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea. Now, think of the global egalitarian principle: socialism has not worked, but in an ideal world, it would have. That is my bold point. Why should not a certain people donate - even a small part of - their wealth to a people who have simply not been able to build a civilization for themselves, as in the so-called third-world countries Are the people of such countries not hard-working If they are, why are they underdeveloped It is well-nigh impossible to answer; all ... Read More
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