Inequality

Topics: John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, Property, Political philosophy, Liberty, Justice / Pages: 14 (3304 words) / Published: Mar 20th, 2013
Inequality is undoubtedly the most blatant and pressing issue that plagues society. After all, how can we possibly accept that some perpetually carry the scar of a long history of poverty that impedes them from having opportunities in life? As we find ourselves face-to-face with this despicable reality we should ask ourselves: what equality of opportunity should we aim for and what measures must be taken in order to solve this issue? John Rawls and Robert Nozick present diverging views on social equality in their books A Theory of Justice and Anarchy, State, and Utopia, respectively. Nozick, on one hand, believes that liberty is the most central good and that if a property is justly owned then social inequalities are acceptable and should thus be free of intervention. He believes that people have property rights, thereby conceding them the right to what they justly own. Rawls challenges the importance that Nozick gives to property rights, by claiming that many times property ownership stems from advantageous social positions and natural talents. With that in mind, he proposes his Second Principle and Difference Principle in order to aim at correcting the injustices that arise as a product of birth accidents. Rawls’ theory of justice represents the ideal of equality of opportunity which a just society should aim at, for it is not enough to merely have a formal liberty – effective liberty is necessary as well for there to be equal access to opportunities in society. It is important to no infringe on people’s liberties, though, while trying to bring about equality. However, it is Nozick’s liberty theory that I will be using in this paper as the one we should try to preserve, for it consists in having one’s rights respected (29) – that is, their duties and claim-rights. The only amendment I will add to Nozick’s point of view is that liberty is only justified in being restricted if by doing so in the short run it will bring about maximal liberty to everyone in the long

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