Socio-Economic System Determining What Is Term Paper

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Pain and pleasure are not part of Rawls' theory. Rather, he centers his theory on the concept of justice. Rawls strongly argued that humans have the capacity for genuine toleration and respect for other humans. From this premise Rawls felt that true pluralism was possible and a tolerance for true democracy throughout the world community was possible.

With so many different views circulating what is to provide stability in a society based upon the views of Rawls? What keeps anarchy from developing at any moment? According to Rawls, stability is provided through what he describes as an overlapping consensus (Love, 2003). Laws are developed that support the basis comprehensive doctrine but for differing reasons. Each citizen supports the same laws but for different reasons. Consensus is not necessarily a compromise but a balancing of interests. Each citizen is free to hold his or her own belief and the overlap between beliefs is what forms enforceable law and the resulting stability.

Another significant premise of Rawls' system is that there are sufficient resources in society for everyone's basic needs to be satisfied. If such basic resources are in short supply it is no longer possible for there to be a just distribution. Distribution becomes subject to standards beyond fairness but because Rawls' is a theoretical model only he fails to address what might occur with such contingency and, obviously, this is one of the major criticisms of his theory. Utilitarianism would argue that this where the greatest good for the greatest number is legitimized.

The beauty of Rawls' theory is in its emphasis on fairness and equality. Under such circumstances the ground rules are present for all citizens to lead a decent life. Wide levels of divergence between individual members of society are eliminated. There is not a segment in society for haves and have nots. There is no such thing as a rich family or poor family; there is distinction between races or even genders. Because social benefits are distributed more or less evenly there is no basis or reason for discrimination in any form. Any inequalities that are created in such a society are only because such creation works for the benefit of all citizens. Equality is the baseline and any inequalities must improve everyone's situation.

A society built on Rawls' theories is highly idealistic; almost utopian. To believe that his theories are workable requires a unselfish and altruistic population that is willing to place societal interests above one's self-interest. The history of civilization would seem to indicate that men are not presently capable of acting as altruistically as necessary in order for Rawls' theories to be practical ((editor), 1984). A perfect state of justice and fairness is a wonderful idea in theory but, in practice, has not proven achievable. Some ardent advocates of Communism might argue that such an approach was attempted in the Soviet Union and opponents of Rawls' theories would argue alternatively that such experiment failed.

For the present, alternative theories of right and wrong, good and bad, continue to flourish. No one currently has an approach that nears universal acceptance. Some ethical theories, such as that advanced by John Rawls, offer alternatives but fail in application. Man remains a complex organism that is not neatly defined and when combined with others to form a social grouping that complexity increases. Rawls' concept of a society based on justice is a wonderful concept but remains just that: a concept.

References

Sandel, M. (editor) (1984). Liberalism and its Critics. New York: NYU Press.

Love, N.S. (2003). Rawlsian Harmonies: Overlapping Consensus Symphony Orchestra. Theory, Culture & Society, 121-140.

Mill, J.S. (2008). On Liberty. New York: Bedfore / St. Martin's .

Rawls, J. (1999). A Theory of Justice. Cambridge, MA:…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Sandel, M. (editor) (1984). Liberalism and its Critics. New York: NYU Press.

Love, N.S. (2003). Rawlsian Harmonies: Overlapping Consensus Symphony Orchestra. Theory, Culture & Society, 121-140.

Mill, J.S. (2008). On Liberty. New York: Bedfore / St. Martin's .

Rawls, J. (1999). A Theory of Justice. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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