Distributive justice involves allocation of resources in a just way. In the context of distributive justice every individual is entitled to equal access of basic health care, food, income education and employment opportunity. Distributive justice seeks to address the issue of inequitable distribution of wealth or resources. Distributive justice involves fair allocation of resources among the diverse members of a community. Fair allocation considers the total amount of goods to be distributed, procedure for distribution and the pattern of distribution that result.
Most scholars have contributed to the debate of distributive justice arguing in diverse ideologies of how they believe fair distribution of resources can be achieved. Most of these ideologies of distributive justice are only in theory due to the opposition by capitalistic societies. This paper will focus on distribution of benefits and burdens of economic activities equitably among the diverse population. Rawl Difference Principle was based on the proposition that a country’s wealth is not fixed and hence keeps on increasing especially in industrialized societies. Rawl theory of political liberalism has two Principles.
Each person has an equal claim to basic rights and political liberty which should be guaranteed a fair value. Social and economic conditions have to satisfy two conditions. They are associated with offices and positions should be open to all to allow fair equal opportunity. The benefits should be benefit the least advantaged in the society most. Rawls distributive Principle does not support strict equality rather it support inequality as long as it benefits the least advantaged in the society. Difference Principle moral motivation emphasize equal respect for all and collude with strict equality Principle.
The Difference Principle materially collapses to strict equality where the income has no effect on work incentive of people under empirical conditions. According to Rawl, if the distributive system maximizes the absolute position of least advantaged in the society then strict equality can be adhere to Difference Principle advocate for inequality prior where the absolute position of least advantaged can no longer be raised. According to Rawl, when the inequality is minimized, then there is political liberty and even the least advantaged have a chance to access political positions and offices where their views can be addressed.
Libertarians criticized Difference Principle on the grounds that difference Principle may require redistributive taxation to the poor and libertarians strongly object taxation on the argument that it involves immoral taking of just holdings. Utilitarian theory strongly object Difference Principle too based on the argument that it does not maximize utility. Rawl in response to the criticism argue that according to Difference Principle, welfare of least advantaged is maximized and this bring Pareto optimality. According to libertarians, a particular distributive pattern is not required for justice to be achieved.
Justice is said to be achieved through market because of just exchange. Nozick has advanced the libertarian theory by proposing ‘Entitlement theory’. Nozick objects distributive justice and argue that justice can be achieved through fair contracts which are without stealing or fraud. Nozick borrowing ideas from Locke argue that everyone should own some possession in the world because they own labor and themselves. Nozick propose that everyone should only own what is just to promote equitable distribution of resources.
Nozick in objection of distributive theory argue that people own themselves and initially world is unowned so every person should take a proportion share of the world as long as the welfare of others is untouched. Once private market for labor and capital should then be determined. The libertarians however, do not propose a method by which individuals can acquire property which is morally accepted. Libertarians advocate a system where property rights exclusive and government intervention through taxation is minimal.
Taxation should only be for purposes of protecting private property. Libertarians value freedom maximization and minimization of violence that is brought by exclusive property rights. This from empirical research done in countries with more exclusionary property regime has revealed that rich become richer while poor become poorer. Nozick entitlement theory argues any distribution of resources irrespective of pattern is just as long as it has good history and it was acquired in accordance with rules of acquisition, transfer or rectification. Rawl theory emphasizes end-result.
Utilitarian distribution Principle criticized Difference Principle based on the argument that welfare maximization of least advantaged deprive others utility. According to Utilitarian utility is defined as pleasure or preference satisfaction. Distributive justice is achieved in Utilitarianism through maximization of preference-satisfaction. The Utilitarian Principle has faced criticism, for example, based on preference satisfaction, the minority racial group may be barred from owning more material benefits by some people. This may lead to inequality in resource distribution and hence unfairness.
Utilitarianisms have not explained clearly how racist preferences can be discouraged. Utilitarianisms however, argue that empirical evidence will rarely require women or racial minorities to sacrifice or suffer for the benefit of others. Utilitarian distribution Principle has problems with specification and implementation since it requires interpersonal comparison of utility which is rarely practical. Difference Principle criticized Utilitarian Principle arguing that it promotes capitalism. Difference Principle by Rawl offers good principles on how distributive justice can be achieved.
Distributive justice can only be achieved if there is fair distribution of job opportunities, income, wealth, food, health facilities, political liberty and knowledge. Rawl clearly descries how equity can be achieved. In many countries, it’s evident that there is a big gap between the poor and the rich. The discrepancy has brought conflict because the rich control the resources since they have been accorded political powers. The rich make policies that are in disfavor of the poor and continue to impoverish the poor further.
According to Rawl in his Difference Principle, distributive justice can only be achieved if the least advantaged is societies are given equal opportunity to obtain the top positions and offices. When the welfare of least advantaged in society is improved, the discrepancy between the poor and rich reduce and in the long run, equality will be achieved. When the welfare of least advantaged, for example women or racial minority there will be political liberty because there will be equal chances of being elected into parliament or to make policies.
Political liberty will enhance good representation of least advantaged in the government or in policy making. Participation by all citizens will raise per capita income and this in turn increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country. Increase in GDP with equitable distribution of resources will promote economic justice. Increase in GDP too will lead to increase in economic growth of the country. Economic justice means that there is fair distribution of economic resources like infrastructure, income, land, capital, labor and entrepreneurship.
Economic justice differs from relative distribution of income. Economic justice is derived from social premises which have implications on nature of democracy. People participate in creation of wealth through circulation of commodities. Difference proposes use of progressive taxation to be able to raise the welfare of least advantaged for example poor. Have objected use taxation as proposed by difference principle arguing its evil to tax what is justly owned. Rawl in response to the criticism argued that the poor should be given a chance to participate in politics so as to enhance their life.
Rawl argued if libertarian Principle, there will be conflict over resource allocation. Nozick views against distributive justice argue that every person is independent regardless of the interdependence of the work done by the people. According to Nozick, everyone is entitled to property according to their power to obtain. This will create conflict since everyone want to obtain resources, the rich therefore obtain more. Affirmative action is the policies that are made in favor of the non-dominant groups in social-political activities.
The policies may promote employment opportunities, education and political opportunities among the less dominant groups characterized by race, gender, ethnicity and disability status. Economic justice emphasize affirmative action can be achieved through Difference Principle where the least advantaged groups welfare is enhanced through providing equal political participation opportunities. Affirmative action can be achieved for example by making policies that allow equal participation by women in politics. The women who are chosen into the parliament can then represent the ideas and their demands in policy making.
Good presentation of the minority group, for instance women, will promote economic justice. Economic justice is realized through policies that promote equal income distribution, equal employment opportunities. Rawl Principle proposes a primary method of distribution of primary goods like opportunities, liberties, rights, wealth and self-respect. According to Rawl, a just society should identify victims of injustice to be compensated because social contracts are likely to be violated. Affirmative action is a public policy designed to compensate victims of injustice. Rawl identifies two principles to deal with injustice.
Identify the victims’ then dictate that each member of society be granted every shareable personal liberty. According to Rawl, affirmative action should secure those harmed by violation of rights brought by deprivation of primary goods. Affirmative action goal on distribution require distributional practices be fair to help those least advantaged by past injustices to be able to utilize the assets should a change come. Affirmative action require those who have suffered injustices especially women to be given equal political opportunity. Moreover, affirmative action related with college admission and ‘hiring quotas’ should be strengthened.
This has received objection from society dominated by men through with more women in influential positions it’s enhanced. Rawl advocate for equal employment to be extended to the least advantaged in the society. This can only be achieved with political liberty. Affirmative action too enhances equal employment opportunities to the minority groups. When equal employments are available to minority groups, income is justly distributed and in the long run wealth is justly distributed. With increase in employment, output in the country increase and economy growth is achieved.
Due to fair distribution of employment opportunities, economic justice is achieved. Equal employment opportunity is objected by capitalistic societies which are supported by utilitarianism principle. The capitalistic societies own firms and production means and they violate the rights of minority through unfair wages. In conclusion, distributive justice if achieved in the society would increase harmony and reduce conflict that is brought by the discrepancy between the poor and rich. Distributive justice would promote good living standards with increased economic growth.