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In A Theory of Justice, John Rawls - Essay Example

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In A Theory of Justice, John Rawls

..no one knows his place in society, his class position or social status; nor does he know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence and strength, and the like” (Rawls, p. 118). The individual is then tasked with designing a society with this understanding in mind. As a means of carrying out Rawl’s veil of ignorance, this essay proposes what sorts of principles I would propose for this new society. Additionally, the essay considers what guarantees people would have, and what values would be most important to create and preserve. After considering the veil of ignorance one of the overarching considerations of this new society is the need to ensure that it offers fair opportunities to all citizens. As a means of achieving this society there necessarily must be a radical reimagining of the way that the country is structured. Currently society is organized a capitalist democratic model. In this way the primary means of achieving income are through capitalizing on one’s strengths to as great a degree as possible. The pervading logic in this approach to life is that individuals who work the hardest will correspondingly be given the most opportunities and success. There is the further belief that innovation and entrepreneurship will not occur unless people are given a direct financial incentive. While from a theoretical perspective this view of the world may be accurate, in practice there is a great amount of complication. What often occurs is that specific groups of people gain power and are able to oppress other groups of people. In this way survival of the fittest partially takes over, wherein the strong dominate the weak. Additionally, people become oppressed along racial and ethnic lines. In this way many of the brightest and most talented individuals in society are not granted the equal opportunities. Even as society is democratic in nature, the pervading structures are such that these processes are cyclical, with individuals in power contributing to the oppressive mechanisms. Following the understanding of society as greatly contributing to the oppression of certain groups of people significant changes will be implemented. One of the first changes is that the past notion that all individuals work for the simple accumulation of wealth will be disregarded. Numerous studies have indicated that once an individual makes over $75,000 a year their relative happiness level does not increase. Still, a significant amount of people in society make considerably more than this amount, while millions of others struggle to achieve a living income. The obvious solution is to institute wealth distribution systems, where the wealthiest Americans necessarily distribute their wealth to those making the least amount of money. While such processes are in place to a small extent, the large-scale implementation of these processes have not occurred as there is the general belief that individuals would not work as hard if they did not receive direct compensation for their actions. Although there is an extent of truth to these claims, ultimately it appears that they do not fully take into account the motivations of human behavior. One considers that individuals such as Warren Buffet have made extensive amounts of money and ultimately given it away to charity. The current Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, ...Show more

Summary

A Theory of Justice The nature of justice has been considered since at least Greek antiquity. Philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle contributed significantly to this area of investigation. Throughout the centuries other thinkers have added insights. Notably, John Stuart Mille advanced the notion of utilitarianism where the proper approach is to advance one’s happiness, while refraining from doing harm…
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In A Theory of Justice, John Rawls essay example
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