Inequality In Society: John Rawls And Affirmative Action

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Society is inherently unequal, said John Rawls. To obtain equality is an ideal dream, however to reduce inequality isn’t. An idea to reduce inequality and provide equal opportunity to everyone in the society is what will be stated in this paper. This paper provides a theoretical approach towards the problem of equality in a society like that of India wherein reservations play a vital role in catering to the disadvantaged sections of the society. The paper dwells into the evolution of the concept of reservations and the problems posed by it. It also provides a theoretical solution that will be helpful in reducing inequality.

John Rawls and Affirmative Action

John Rawls propounded what is called the “Ideal Theory”. The theory explains what constitutes an ideal and just society. But what it lacks is a solution to an unjust or a non-ideal society. The Ideal Theory lays down the following principles:

i) Each person has an equal right to a fully adequate scheme of equal basic liberties, which is compatible with a similar scheme of liberties for all. ii) Social and economic inequalities are to satisfy two conditions. First, they must be attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality; and second, they must be to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged members of society.

The first part of the second principle is concerned with the institutional requirement of making sure that public opportunities are open to all, without anyone being

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