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POLISCI 1020E: Distribution of Property II.docx

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Western University
Political Science
Political Science 1020E
Charles Jones

RAWLS ON JUSTICE Key Ideas  choosing principles of justice o removing bias— card game example  focus on basic structure of society o because of effect that it has on your life  original position and veil of ignorance o OP: initial situation of equality o hypothetical  impartiality: “justice as fairness” Principles of justice are those that would be chosen in a hypothetical situation in which the structure is fair to everyone. How Would POPs Choose?  want of primary goods  which decision rule is used? o maximax: distribution of primary goods focused only on best outcomes; maximize the maximum— NO o utility maximization: doesn‟t recognize separateness of persons— sacrifices happiness of some for the greater good; some people can be used— NO o maximin: distribution of primary goods focused only on best worst outcome; maximize the minimum— YES POPs would make the worst of person (in terms of primary goods) as best off as possible. This results in the following principles: 1. Principles of Greatest Equal Liberties o distribution of liberties 2. Principles of Fair Equality of Opportunity o distribution of social and liberal equality 3. Difference Principle o distribution of income and wealth o social and economic inequalities are justified only if they are to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged  lexical priority: 1 principle has lexical priority over 2 , 2nd over 3rd Why Choose Greatest Equal Liberties?  veil of ignorance makes it irrational to discriminate against anyone  share of primary goods maximized, so the more basic freedoms, the better Why Choose the Difference Principle?  maximin is the rational choice  finality and risk aversion  problem: „maximization with a floor‟ seems more desirable than difference principle; constrained maximization Intuitive Equality of Opportunity Argument (not in textbook)  nowadays: prevailing view is equal opportunity o distinction between choices and circumstances  we deserve to pay the cost of our choices and to receive the benefits of our choices  we sho
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