Democratic Equality Argument

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  • Topic: John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, Political philosophy
  • Pages : 4 (1313 words )
  • Download(s) : 196
  • Published : September 24, 2007
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In A Theory of Justice, Rawls presents two principles of justice that regulate the basic institution of individuals within a society. Rawls believes that a rational individual would only choose to establish a society that conforms to the two principles. Specifically, Rawl concludes that his second principle of justice is the most plausible interpretation of justice. Rawls outlines three main interpretations of this idea of equality states- system of natural liberty, liberal equality, and democratic equality. Rawl argues for democratic equality in A Theory of Justice, a combination of the principle of fair equality of opportunity with the difference principle. The democratic equality argument concludes that the theory of justice is interpreted such that social and economic inequalities can be ameliorated in both natural and social conditions. I find this argument problematic because it ignores some morally arbitrary factors, leads to unjust distribution of wealth, and violates personal liberty.

The democratic equality argument is centered on the proposal for a society to exhibit distributions such as to maximize the endowment of the least well off sector of the society. Some social and natural primary goods include rights, liberties, opportunities and power, income and wealth, and self-worth. (Rawls p.607). Rawls introduces this concept by developing a social contract governed by a veil of ignorance. "The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance. This ensures that no one is advantaged or disadvantaged in the choice of principles by the outcome of natural change or the contingency of social circumstances. Since all are similarly situated and no one is able to design principles to favor his particular condition, the principles of justice are the result of a fair agreement or bargain." (Rawls, p.600).

The Democratic equality argument assumes the first principle of the theory of justice to be established, such that each person has an...
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