• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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?

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. A-Level Sociology Theory + Methods Revision.

    + then use these to determine whether a social phenomenon fits the classification e.g. Democracy. You may not find all the characteristics of the ideal type in the reality of the phenomenon. However if the major one is present + the characteristics don't fit another ideal type better, then we accept that the observed phenomenon is a ...


    line, they are nevertheless 'deprived' in relation to others for example they spend the best part of their pension on food and therefore are denied access to other social needs such as shopping for new clothes, hairdresser/barbers, travelling abroad, going to pub for a pint, visiting family who do not reside nearby and so on.

  1. Rawls claims that ‘utilitarianism does not take the distinction between persons seriously.’ Explain this ...

    Rawls believes that these two principles would certainly be chosen in the original position, and that it is upon these two principles that the just society shall be based. At the original position when the liberty principle is decided all discriminating factors such as age, sex, race, religion and social

  2. Discuss the extent to which public and social policies have impacted upon the theory ...

    A contractual way of life where, peoples business is getting something from others. Slattery, (1991). Slattery (1991) argued that Tonnies used the terms gemeinschaft and gesellschaft in order to show that industrialisation was destroying the sense of the community. However, Tonnies never actually applied these terms to any particular locality

  1. Discuss the contention that postmodern culture and post modern living arrangements are diverse, fluid ...

    (Berger, 1995) The general decline in patriarchal attitudes in post modern culture witness's male acceptance in the ways in which the modern woman can if necessary now provide and protect herself and her children. Men are also longer dependant on women for physical survival.

  2. What are "one-world theory"and "two-world theory"?

    Social participation is important in a world in which nothing can be fully independent and everything is inter-related, and mutually co-existent. Confucianism, in this sense, talks of the best, and most harmonious way to make the world, and employs the circular theory, in which a person is a component within a circle of society.

  1. Women as property in regards to rape.

    The father would report that his property is despoiled, which is in fact the loss of his daughter's virginity11. English law from the beginning of the medieval period has primarily been interested with property rights. This emphasis on property is portrayed in rape crime.

  2. What role does the original position play is Rawl's defence of his two principles ...

    equal guarantee to as many liberties and as much of those liberties as can be guaranteed to everyone else at the same time. He explains that he is not referring to the liberty to act as one chooses but rather to political liberty and the freedom of speech, thought and person.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work