Inequality In Today's Society

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When dealing with the issue of inequality and injustice in today’s society, there are numerous ways one can identify and tackle these concepts. Many philosophers ponder over which frameworks and means of categorization could and should be used when thinking about the topic of inequality. Commonly, current discourse is concerned with answering the question of what should be distributed equally when in reality, there are a number of questions that are important to consider when thinking about the aims of egalitarian theory. Rather than lingering on the question of ‘equality of what’, Iris Marion Young turns to a different issue and contemplates who should be analyzed when navigating the issue of injustice. What unit of analysis should be used?…show more content…
The ways in which these social structures can affect certain groups as a whole determine the successes and drawbacks of an individual’s life. Using a group centered approach as a tool to identify these structural inequalities is essential because it is only after structural inequalities are defined that we can then work to remedy them. In order to accurately judge what is just and fair and what is not, structural inequalities must be identified. A focus on groups allows this particular kind of inequality to come into focus, subsequently enabling us to move forward and address the inequality. Young asserts that “evaluating inequality in terms of social groups enables us to claim that some inequalities are unjust because such group-based comparison helps reveal important aspects of institutional relations and processes” (Young 2001, pg 2). Using a group based approach opens up the possibility of recognizing structural inequalities. Therefore, the ability to identify the structural inequalities that plague our society justifies the use of group…show more content…
One such philosopher that prefers an individualist approach is Ronald Dworkin. According to Dworkin’s theory, equality should be a concern of individual right, and not one based on group. Dworkin believes that emphasizing groups in turn disregards the “many differences in the tastes, choices, and goals of individuals” (Young 2001, pg 5). In other words, a group approach will ignore the attributes that distinguish individuals and these attributes are essential when making claims of inequality. Essentially, Dworkin is concerned about the suppression of individual variation within groups. Young also points to philosopher Larry Temkin’s counterarguments. Temkin believes that focusing on the group in turn leads to a lack of concern over how individuals survive. Temkin disagrees with having the moral concern lie with the group rather than with specific individuals. Lastly, Young mentions Douglas Rae, who thinks “group-conscious assessments of inequality wrongly collapse individual circumstance to a group average” (Young 2001, pg 5). One needs to take into account individual differences and individual variations. Comparing groups could dangerously create a portrayal of unity within groups, when that is not always the way individuals of a group identify. This can
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