Rawls Theory Of Equality

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EQUALITY OR SUFFICIENCY? A FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY PERSPECTIVE I In contemporary debates on theories of justice, equality is often taken to be foundational for theories of justice. For example, Rawls’ theory of justice claims that there should be an equal distribution of primary goods (reference), Dworkin argues for an equal distribution of resources (reference), and others argue for equal distribution of opportunities for welfare (reference + names?). At the same time, there are justice theorists who deny that equality should be the foundation of theories of justice. For example, Lucas (1965) argues that if we accept that liberty and fraternity have some value, complete equality cannot be reached (and in fact should not be striven for).…show more content…
With this concept, Rawls goes beyond the simpler concept of equality of opportunity as careers open to talents, which only says that social positions should formally be available to everyone. Rawls’ fair equality of opportunity goes further and states that equally talented and abled persons with the same willingness to use those talents and abilities (hereafter, equally talented) should have equal opportunities. This concept, however, is as such not complete. Following Sachs (2012), it should be recognized that two variables need to be specified, namely currency and timing. In other words, one should specify which opportunities are to be equal among the equally talented, and one should specify when those opportunities are to be equal. With regards to the currency question, a wide range of answers is, at least prima facie, possible. Examples of such answers include welfare, resources, jobs, happiness, et cetera. With regards to the timing question, there are basically three options. The first option is to claim that there should be perpetual fair equality of opportunity, meaning that at each point in one’s life, one’s opportunities should be equal to the opportunities of those who are equally talented. The second option is intermittent fair equality of opportunity, meaning that at certain points in one’s life, fair equality of opportunity should hold. The third and last option is…show more content…
In order to assess this, we need to know how a government can ensure that at the stipulated point in time fair equality of opportunity holds. In principle, there are two approaches that the government could follow (or various combinations of those approaches). The first one is to simply try to correct all unfair inequalities of opportunity just before the stipulated moment in time at which fair equality of opportunity must hold has arrived. In this approach, the government does not have to care about what happens during the time well before the moment of fair equality of opportunity arrives. The second approach is to try and prevent unfair inequalities of opportunity from arising before this moment of fair equality of opportunity. This is similar to what a government would do in case it would try to ensure perpetual fair equality of opportunity, albeit only for a limited period of time, namely before the moment of fair equality of
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