For your second paper, please write 2,000 to 2,500 words comparing the Rawls and the Nozick selections. Your paper should clearly lay out the objections to Rawls’ position that Nozick offers, and whether these objections are enough to discount Rawls in part or entirely.
- Your thesis should clearly state whose arguments are more compelling.
- Your main points should offer the reasoning behind your choice. Give examples of the arguments that each side presents here, and why one wins over the other.
- Specifically, include a discussion of Rawls’ original position and the outcomes he forsees. For Nozick, include a discussion of the entitlement theory, historical time-slice arguments and how liberty upsets patterns.
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1 Theories of Economic Justice Justice as Fairness John Rawls James Bryant Conant University Professor Emeritus, Harvard University Copyright © 2014. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. All rights reserved. The Main Idea of the Theory of Justice My aim is to present a conception of justice which generalizes and carries to a higher level of abstraction the familiar theory of the social contract as found, say, in Locke, Rousseau, and Kant. In order to do this we are not to think of the original contract as one to enter a particular society or to set up a particular form of government. Rather, the guiding idea is that the principles of justice for the basic structure of society are the object of the original agreement. They are the principles that free and rational persons concerned to John Rawls, “Justice as Fairness.” Excerpted from A Theory of Justice by John Rawls (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971), pp. 11–15, 60–64, 100–104, 136–137, 140–143, 144–145. © 1971 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. further their own interests would accept in an initial position of equality as defining the fundamental terms of their association.These principles are to regulate all further agreements: they specify the kinds of social cooperation that can be entered into and the forms of government that can be established. This way of regarding the principles of justice I shall call justice as fairness. Thus we are to imagine that those who engage in social cooperation choose together, in one joint act, the principles which are to assign basic rights and duties and to determine the division of social benefits. Men are to decide in advance how they are to regulate their claims against one another and what is to be the foundation charter of their society. Just as each person must decide by rational reflection what constitutes his good, that is, the system of ends which it is rational for him to pursue, so a group of persons must decide once and for all what is to count among them as just and unjust.The choice which rational men would make in this hypothetical situation of equal liberty, assuming for the present that this choice problem has a solution, determines the principles of justice. In justice as fairness the original position of equality corresponds to the state of nature in the traditional theory of the social contract. This original position is not, of course, thought of as an actual historical state of affairs, much less as a primitive condition of culture. It is understood as a purely hypothetical situation Business Ethics: Readings and Cases in Corporate Morality, Fifth Edition. Edited by W. Michael Hoffman, Robert E. Frederick, and Mark S. Schwartz. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Published 2014 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoffman, W. M., Frederick, R. E., & Schwartz, M. S. (Eds.). (2014). Business ethics : Readings and cases in corporate morality. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from lynnu on 2021-09-07 17:58:10. Copyright © 2014. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. All rights reserved. 44 part 1 ethics and busine ss: from theory to practice characterized so as to lead to a certain conception of justice. Among the essential features of this situation is that no one knows his place in society, his class position or social status, nor does any one know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence, strength, and the like. I shall even assume that the parties do not know their conceptions of the good or their special psychological propensities. The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance. This ensures that no one is advantaged or disadvantaged in the choice of principles by the outcome of natural chance or the contingency of social circumstances. Since all are similarly situated and no one is able to design principles to favor his particular condition, the principles of justice are the result of a fair agreement or bargain. For given the circumstances of the original position, the symmetry of everyone’s relations to each other, this initial situation is fair between individuals as moral persons, that is, as rational beings with their own ends and capable, I shall assume, of a sense of justice.The original position is, one might say, the appropriate initial status quo, and thus the fundamental agreements reached in it are fair. This explains the propriety of the name “justice as fairness”: it conveys the idea that the principles of justice are agreed to in an initial situation that is fair.The name does not mean that the concepts of justice and fairness are the same, any more than the phrase “poetry as metaphor” means that the concepts of poetry and metaphor are the same. Justice as fairness begins, as I have said, with one of the most general of all choices which persons might make together, namely, with the choice of the first principles of a conception of justice which is to regulate all subsequent criticism and reform of institutions. Then, having chosen a conception of justice, we can suppose that they are to choose a constitution and a legislature to enact laws, and so on, all in accordance with the principles of justice initially agreed upon. Our social situation is just if it is such that by this sequence of hypothetical agreements we would have contracted into the general system of rules which defines it. It may be observed that once the principles of justice are thought of as arising from an original agreement in a situation of equality, it is an open question whether the principle of utility would be acknowledged. Offhand it hardly seems likely that persons who view themselves as equals, entitled to press their claims upon one another, would agree to a principle which may require lesser life prospects for some simply for the sake of a greater sum of advantages enjoyed by others. Since each desires to protect his interests, his capacity to advance his conception of the good, no one has a reason to acquiesce in an enduring loss for himself in order to bring about a greater net balance of satisfaction. In the absence of strong and lasting benevolent impulses, a rational man would not accept a basic structure merely because it maximized the algebraic sum of advantages irrespective of its permanent effects on his own basic rights and interests.Thus it seems that the principle of utility is incompatible with the conception of social co operation among equals for mutual advantage. It appears to be inconsistent with the idea of reciprocity implicit in the notion of a well-ordered society. Or, at any rate, so I shall argue. I shall maintain instead that the persons in the initial situation would choose two rather different principles: the first requires equality in the assignment of basic rights and duties, while the second holds that social and economic inequalities, for example inequalities of wealth and authority, are just only if they result in compensating benefits for everyone, and in particular for the least advantaged members of society. These principles rule out justifying institutions on the grounds that the hardships of some are offset by a greater good in the aggregate. It may be expedient but it is not just that some should have less in order that others may prosper. But there is no injustice in the greater benefits earned by a few provided that the situation of persons not so fortunate is thereby improved. The intuitive idea is that since everyone’s well-being depends upon a scheme of cooperation without which no one could have a satisfactory life, the division of advantages should be such as to draw forth the willing cooperation of everyone taking part in it, including those less well situated.Yet this can be expected only if reasonable terms are proposed. The two principles mentioned seem to be a fair agreement on the basis of which those better endowed, or more fortunate in their social position, neither of which we can be said to deserve, could expect the willing cooperation of others when some workable scheme is a Hoffman, W. M., Frederick, R. E., & Schwartz, M. S. (Eds.). (2014). Business ethics : Readings and cases in corporate morality. ProQuest Ebook Central http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from lynnu on 2021-09-07 17:58:10. Copyright © 2014. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. All rights reserved. theorie s of economic justice necessary condition of the welfare of all.1 Once we decide to look for a conception of justice that nullifies the accidents of natural endowment and the contingencies of social circumstance as counters in quest for political and economic advantage, we are led to these principles. They express the result of leaving aside those aspects of the social world that seem arbitrary from a moral point of view. The idea of the original position is to set up a fair procedure so that any principles agreed to will be just. Somehow we must nullify the effects of specific contingencies which put men at odds and tempt them to exploit social and natural circumstances to their own advantage. Now in order to do this I assume that the parties are situated behind a veil of ignorance.They do not know how the various alternatives will affect their own particular case and they are obliged to evaluate principles solely on the basis of general considerations.2 The veil of ignorance enables us to make vivid to ourselves the restrictions that it seems reasonable to impose on arguments for principles of justice, and therefore on these principles themselves.Thus it seems reasonable and generally acceptable that no one should be advantaged or disadvantaged by natural fortune or social circumstances in the choice of principles. It also seems widely agreed that it should be impossible to tailor principles to the circumstances of one’s own case. We should insure further that particular inclinations and aspirations, and persons’ conceptions of their good do not affect the principles adopted.The aim is to rule out those principles that it would be rational to propose for acceptance, however little the chance of success, only if one knew certain things that are irrelevant from the stand point of justice. For example, if a man knew that he was wealthy, he might find it rational to advance the principle that various taxes for welfare measures be counted unjust; if he knew that he was poor, he would most likely propose the contrary principle. To represent the desired restrictions one imagines a situation in which everyone is deprived of this sort of information. One excludes the knowledge of those contingencies which sets men at odds and allows them to be guided by their prejudices. It is assumed, then, that the parties do not know certain kinds of particular facts. First of all, no one knows his place in society, his class position or social 45 status; nor does he know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence and strength, and the like. Nor, again, does anyone know his conception of the good, the particulars of his rational plan of life, or even the special features of his psychology such as his aversion to risk or liability to optimism or pessimism. More than this, I assume that the parties do not know the particular circumstances of their own society. That is, they do not know its economic or political situation, or the level of civilization and culture it has been able to achieve. The persons in the original position have no information as to which generation they belong. These broader restrictions on knowledge are appropriate in part because questions of social justice arise between generations as well
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