John Rawls: Lesson 2
Two Principles of Justice
The difference principle arose out of the thought experiment of being in an original position of equality, behind a veil of ignorance. The difference principle can also be argued from a moral argument independent of the thought experiment. The difference principle can be argue from the facts of moral arbitrariness.
Feudal aristocracy: accident of birth
Market society: formal system of equality of opportunity – Libertarianism. “Runners start from different starting points.”
Meritocracy society: providing equal educational opportunities. “Runners start from the same starting point, but the fastest runners will win the race.” Natural distribution of abilities and talents. It’s the natural lottery.
“There is no more reason to permit the distribution of income and wealth to be settled by the distribution of natural assets than by historical and social fortune” (qtd. in Sandel).
From a moral standpoint, both market and meritocratic systems are arbitrary. Some critics say that the only way to make a meritocratic/market system fair is to level equality.
Using the four rival theories of justice, enter in the correct type of distributive justice:
“It is important to notice that allowing wage differences for the sake of incentives is different from saying that the successful have a privileged moral claim to the fruits of their labor. If Rawls is right, income inequalities are just only insofar as they call forth efforts that ultimately help the disadvantaged, not because CEOs or sports stars deserve to make more money than factory workers” (158).
Rejecting Moral Desert