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Compare Rawl's Theory of Justice with those of Nozick and Walzer. How may such diverse definitions of justice affect our judgement as to whether social policies are fair or not?

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Introduction

Compare Rawl's Theory of Justice with those of Nozick and Walzer. How may such diverse definitions of justice affect our judgement as to whether social policies are fair or not? Social policies are distributed in society to improve society's welfare and protection. This essay is concerned with whether social policies are fair or not compared with Rawls, Nozicks and Walzers theories of justice. Each theory will now be compared and will produce the answer of just how fair social policies are. John Rawls produced his own theory of justice named 'Justice as a contract'. Rawls has two principles to his theory of justice. The first principle is the 'Principle of Equal Liberty'. The principle states that "Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others" (Rawls, 1973:60). The first principle suggests that all citizens have equal rights to engage in any act they wish giving rise to an equal and just society. The second principle states that "Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both: (a) reasonably expected to be to everyone's advantage, (b) attached to positions and offices open to all" (Rawls, 1973:60). Principle (a) supports the idea that the distribution of wealth and income via the government should be distributed to everyone's advantage. ...read more.

Middle

According to Rawls, if citizens have well paid jobs then they can be taxed and the money can be distributed to those earning less well paid jobs. Therefore both citizens benefit because one person has a well paid job, and the other person is receiving money. Nozick believes justification is keeping your own money, what you earn is what you get. Nozick is less concerned with equality. Nozick believes people are entitled to their own fortunes. Rawls however, supports state intervention and citizens benefiting from other peoples fortunes. Walzer does not have a particular theory on justice, but he does have some thoughts on how a justified society would be. Walzer specifies that "There are no universal laws of justice. Instead we must see justice as the creation of a particular political community at a particular time, and the account we give must be given from within such a community" (Walzer, 1995:2). Each community will have different laws and cultures. The way that citizens live in Western societies completely differs to those living in the East. This means that we can not have one rule for justice, as justice has differing principles in each community. Walzer promotes Distributive justice including the distribution of social goods and the spheres of distribution (Walzer, 1983:312). ...read more.

Conclusion

The theories of justice do support the idea that social policies are fair. Social policies benefit the members of society who are in need. Rawls and Walzer propose that the needy need benefiting so they are treated fairly. No society would stand by to watch members starve, suffer from illness or are incapable of looking after themselves through a disability. These people need help from not only the state, but from citizens who are better off which can help them. The slight notion of unfairness is Nozicks idea of taxation. It is unfair that people can not keep all the money they own and let it be distributed to other members. If the money went to look after the generally sick people then probably quite a lot of people would voluntary give the money, however the money does go to people who are perfectly capable of looking after themselves. In this respect social policies can prove unfair, as people are generally forced to give up their money. Regardless of taxation social policies on the whole do benefit society. Citizens can receive the medial care they need, have houses provided for them, receive education and more. If we did not have social policies then some citizens in society would be made worse off and this is not justice. Justice is caring for all members of society, distributing fair social policies to cater for their needs. ...read more.

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