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What Is In Defense Of Equality

An argument I found problematic is that of Walzer’s in his work titled “In Defense of Equality. ” He believes that redistribution undermines achievement and ability and distribution should be based on intrinsic value. As stated, “The difficulty here is that making money is only rarely a form of self-expression, and the money we make is rarely enjoyed for its intrinsic qualities. In a capitalist world, money is the universal medium of exchange” (Walzer 400). Furthermore, talent is distributed unevenly and that results in some getting better than others.

In Rawls’ hypothetical this is okay, just as long as the inequalities are to everyone’s advantage. Talents allow some to succeed more than others and the society made in the original position lets this happen by making a society in which any of the positions are at least livable to the creator of the society. Walzer asserts that society needs different patterns of distribution, however, I do not fully believe that goods should be distributed in an egalitarian way. I agree with Rawls’ egalitarian points, but Walzer’s argument fails to persuade me as he does not define an effective way to reach the goal of his ideas.

His claims completely go against Nozick’s beliefs on distribution and he tries coming from a moral perspective. For instance, “If men and women wanted to be doctors primarily because they wanted to be helpful, they would have no reason to object when judgments were made about their potential helpfulness. But so long as there are extrinsic reasons for wanting to be a doctor, there will be pressure to choose doctors for reasons that are similarly extrinsic” (Walzer 408). Blatantly, people will have jobs for the wrong reason—in his view, for the money.

Liberty is deliberately impossible in his argument and conveys essential socialism which the general public is known to fear. In Dahl’s argument, his ideas are not like Soviet communism, another fear, as he believes corporations should not be owned by the state but by the workers. Walzer inherently wants to change redistribution of wealth as in taking the rich’s money and giving it to the poor. Rawls’ claim gears towards fairness yet he sets it up in a way where it shows that everyone is benefiting.

In opposition to Rawls’ stance, Friedrich A. Hayek believes material equality and justice have nothing to do with each other. Overall, in Hayek’s view, trying to make people equal violates freedom and distribution has nothing to do with justice. However, Rawls argues there are times where equalizing people do not violate freedom. For instance, “In this way [the original position] everyone’s interests are taken into account, for each person is an equal citizen and all have a place in the distribution of income and wealth or in the range of fixed natural characteristics upon which distinctions are based” (Rawls 81).

In my opinion, endless liberties are not logical and Rawls’ argument makes it so that they are still taken into account in a way that everyone advantages, however that still takes away from people in this argument. Hayek puts it so, “Not only has liberty nothing to do with any other sort of equality, but it is even bound to produce inequality in my respects. This is the necessary result and part of the justification of individual liberty: if the result of individual liberty did not demonstrate that some manners of living are more successful than others, much of the case for it would vanish” (Hayek 80).

However, I believe we should make a society where each position is okay to live with. What people choose in the original decision is what is just and that should be the case because some individuals are given so many advantages in their lives that others unfortunately do not have access to therefore making their position one would not want to live in which makes it unjust. A point Will Wilkinson makes in his work “Thinking Clearly about Economic Inequality” rang a bell for me in Rawls’ argument.

Wilkinson believes that society should not be worried about distribution but rather be worried about the standard of living and quality of life (Wilkinson). He reiterates how inequality is symptom but not a disease and Rawls’ offers a way to fix that with his original position theory. For example, where a person lives determines their quality of education—that is unjust. Thereby creating a society in which that scenario does not exist diminishes that unjustness.

The problem here is not inequality, Wilkinson would believe, and distribution of income does not solve this problem. He offers insight by pointing out “If income inequality in the United States is symptomatic of injustice, the problem is unlikely to be the level of inequality as such, but the institutional mechanisms or social norms—such as predation by political elites or the systematic exclusion of ethnic minorities from economic opportunities—that tend to generate income inequality” (Wilkinson 11).

By changing “the institutional mechanisms or social norms” behind the veil of ignorance creates a clear premises for avoiding the inequalities that sprout from them because the unknowing chooser has created a social structure in which any position is attainable, even the least desirable one. Rawls’ overall goal is to promote the idea that inequalities in society should be to everyone’s advantage and there should be an equal distribution of resources in respect that no one is living in a position they would not choose to live in that can be described as “unjust.

As many societies are majoritarian and focus on the greatest good for the greatest number of citizens, Rawls’ retires from this idea. He presents the idea of creating a society in which any position in the social structure is just as in if an individual creates a society in which they would not be one of the positions—it is therefore unjust. By creating the hypothetical of the original position and by factoring what one chooses in the original decision is what is just is making a society in which any sort of inequality is to everyone’s advantage.

Since it is to be behind the veil of ignorance, the unknowing chooser does not know what their position would be therefore validating the justness of each position. I am amendable to this theory because, in this argument, there cannot be any sort of systematic exclusion and equality is not necessarily violating freedom. Equal distribution of resources, in my opinion and in Rawls’ reasoning, is just and minimal government interference can be dangerous.

Nozick promotes the idea that citizens do not have any moral obligations to one another, but, for a society to work efficiently, everyone must work together and Rawls’ hypothetical sets up a society in which everyone benefits. He addresses that, “There exists a marked disparity between the upper and lower classes in both means of life and the rights and privileges of organizational authority.

The culture of the poorer strata is impoverished while that of the governing and technocratic elite is securely based on the service of the national ends of power and wealth” (Rawls 106). I believe this is inherently unjust and creates a deep divide between the classes which causes the lower class to suffer more. Ultimately, Rawls’ theory gears to set up a society to get around this seemingly inevitable issue.

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