John Rawls: Justice As Equality

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Distributive justice by definition deals with the distribution of benefits and burdens across members of a society. Over time, philosophers have argued how these benefits and burdens should be distributed as what results from them fundamentally affects people’s lives. John Rawls, an American moral and political philosopher argued as a liberal “Justice as Equality” by means of his three principles of justice: the principle of equal liberty, equal opportunity and difference. Liberals typically believe that government is necessary to protect individuals from harm by others, but also recognize that government itself can pose a threat to liberty (Minogue, Girvetz, Dagger & Ball, 2018). Rawls believed that everyone in society should have had equal political rights, although social and economic inequalities existed, but only under the condition that they were to the maximum advantage of the least advantaged people in society. On the other hand, while philosopher Robert Nozick paid a generous tribute to the brilliance of Rawls’ philosophical construction, he provides a rejection to Rawls’ claims from a libertarian perspective. Libertarians have the desire to divide and limit power. That is, government will be limited generally through a written constitution limiting the powers that the people delegate to government (Boaz, 2015). Nozick stated that Rawls’ idea would have resulted in the restriction of free choice or forced distribution within the society.
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