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Rawls's Theory of Distributive Justice - Essay Example

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Rawls's Theory of Distributive Justice

Rawls’s theory has an historical root from social contract tradition that is associated with Thomas John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Traditional social contract theory addresses a state of nature that describes the content of a social contract which is an agreement to enter civil society. Distributive justice deals with the questions of distribution of liberties, wealth, and income (Rawls, 2003) According to Rawls there are two principles that are supposed to govern the basic makeup of a just society are the parties to the original position: an imaginary circumstance which specially constructed by a rational individual. The principles are (a) the principle of equal liberty and social justice where each individual has equal claim to adequate basic rights and liberties. In this system there are equal political liberties with guaranteed fair share. (b) The difference principle: there are social and economic inequalities that are attached to positions which are open to all under conditions of equal opportunity, and they are to benefit even the least advantaged member in the society (Rawls, 2003). According to this principle, an inequality can benefit the person who gets the smaller share. Inequalities can form incentives which increase the size to shared, so that the smaller piece may be larger in absolute terms. The difference principle deals with strict equality under circumstances where differences in income and other rewards do not affect the incentives of an individual. On the other hand, in the real world currently, greater rewards bring forth greater productive effort, thus increasing the total wealth of the economy and therefore the wealth of the least advantaged (Rawls, 2003). Rawls argues that if the skilled and motivated increase their rewards then the poor will benefit than they would have been through equal allocation of income. He also realizes that redistribution cannot go as far as his moral preference for equality without making everyone worse off. He argues for inheritance taxes because unregulated transfer of wealth through generation would end up in the accumulation of wealth in given section of society. According to Rawls, individuals who are not lucky enough to have wealthy parents do not have worse starting points than those who were so fortunate. He contends that society should tax the wealthy with the undeserved inherited gain of children of rich persons (Gerald, 1999). According to Rawls such a system of justice will limit the unfair resources and encourage the redistribution which will favor the disadvantaged. For Rawls it is unfair to leave the disadvantaged in no better position than before, even if the inequality does not harm them. In this way he emphasized the distribution type of justice which favored equal distribution of basic commodities like income and wealth. Practically, it implies that in difference principle, the society must distribute wealth up to the extent that the wealth of the most disadvantaged is improved. In essence the society must tax and reallocate wealth of wealthy individual to the point where their incentive to generate more just fade away. Rawls describes his theory as political because it does not depend on assumptions that are usually unclear to rational citizens in a pluralistic society. He argues that justice require equality as it complies where everyone has fair equal rights and liberties. To Rawls disagreements are resolved on the basis of prior agreement ...Show more


Name; Course; Lecturer; Date; Rawls's Theory of Distributive Justice: Justice as Fairness In his book, A Theory of Justice, John Rawls exploits the values of ethics and political philosophies that affect us in our daily lives. He tackles the problem of distributive justice through the utilization of a variant of social justice…
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Rawlss Theory of Distributive Justice essay example
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