The Rawlsian Theory

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South Africa is both a new democracy and developing country. Like other developing countries, South Africa struggles for access to scarce resources in a highly unequal society enforced by its history. The gap between the rich and poor is vast. According to the Libertarian theory, the inequality would not be seen as immoral as the gap would not be of great concern when people are entitled to property they have acquired and to not have that interfered with. The Rawlsian theory however, recognises that judgement of morality is biased because of subjective interests and ‘accidents of birth’ which influence the outcome of a successful life. Rawls' difference principle recommends that the worst off be made as well as they can be, a standard which…show more content…
The only way that we can counteract prejudices and self-interests is by hypothetically placing ourselves behind the ‘veil of ignorance’ in the original position. Rawls contends that individuals in the original position would want to secure the things most essential to them even at the cost of not attaining material benefits. Fair equality of opportunity entails that those individuals with the same talents and the same ambition have the same chances for competitive success. It is unfair the ‘accident’ of the way you were born, the family you were born into, the talents and abilities or lack thereof should affect and determine whether you have a chance of a successful life. The theory says that rights, liberties and opportunities should be distributed equally and wealth, income and self-respect according to difference principle. The difference principle is concerned with how social institutions that determine basic structure of society should distribute social goods amongst different members of society. Economic inequalities are to be arranged to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged group. Although we do not deserve our social standing or talents we still have a right to them. Talented and industrious people should reap the rewards of their talent only to the extent that doing so increases the welfare of those least well off. It allows members to use talents both for themselves and to the benefit of those who were not fortunate enough to be in the same position. Society is expected to strive for equality as far as possible, unless inequality places everybody in a better off

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