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What Is "Social" Or "Economic" Justice?  
User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 1901 times:

I am somewhat perplexed by a vagueness in the terms "social justice" or "economic justice". These are terms that are freely aired by many members of the left in this country.

On one hand, who can object to "justice"? On the other hand, I am troubled by the redistributivism entailed in some concepts of the above-referenced phrases.

For example, if someone is not capable of making the amount of money he wishes, does society have an interest in "justice" -- equalization -- of his economic status?

I can see the role of compassion in this matter, but I think it should be said that wants (wishes) are infinite, whereas available resources are necessarily limited.

Without become entrenched in a discussion of the shortcomings of Marxism, I do believe that an example may be of use. Assume, arguendo, that Bill Gates is worth $30 billion. Distributed across the total population of the United States (rounded up to 300 million), this would be $100.00 for every man, woman, and child in America. However, would $100.00 per person make a difference if thus distributed? More particularly, has every American done anything to deserve Bill Gates' wealth? Isn't Gates' wealth a product of his hard work, prescience, and good luck? If so, why should "social" or "economic" justice, if considered as redistributivism, be relevant to him -- or, by extension, any individuals of means?

Is the idea of this kind of justice really just a demand for undeserved welfare?

[Edited 2006-02-08 09:07:48]

7 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAerorobnz From Rwanda, joined Feb 2001, 7389 posts, RR: 16
Reply 1, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1892 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
Isn't Gates' wealth a product of his hard work, prescience, and good luck?

Yes it is.

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
I am somewhat perplexed by a vagueness in the terms "social justice" or "economic justice".

The ambiguity is because there is no such 'thing' as Justice, be it economically or socially because it is completely measured from an individual POV, rather than a collective. If Bill Gates was to lose his fortune that would be injustice from his point of view, but justice for the bum that squandered his money away on booze,cigarettes & whores..

Life deliberately doesn't deal us the same hands, so that some can succeed and some can't - it's part of the way the process of life works.


User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1890 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
For example, if someone is not capable of making the amount of money he wishes, does society have an interest in "justice" -- equalization -- of his economic status?

The use of the term "justice" is spin, pure and simple.

What does justice mean? Justice does not mean equality. Justice means you get what you deserve, whether rewards or punishment. That is not what socialists want. Absolute capitalism would be "economic justice", as everyone gets what he worked for, from Bill Gates down to the bum on the street.

What socialists want is not economic justice, but economic compassion. You have something that he doesn't, so you should share. That's compassion, not justice. (That's also buying votes with other people's money, but that's another issue).

I have no problem with elements of economic compassion being brought in to temper the inequalities that are inherant in a capitalist system, leading to the hybrid system we have today. But stop the spin. Stop calling it "economic justice", because it isn't.

Social justice is much easier. Most of the world has gotten rid of nobility and other classes that could get away with doing things while others could not. As long as we are all equal in the eyes of the law, and nothing prevents you from achieving success other than the amount of work and intelligence you put into your efforts, there is social justice.


User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 1870 times:

Quoting Cfalk (Reply 2):
Justice means you get what you deserve, whether rewards or punishment. That is not what socialists want. Absolute capitalism would be "economic justice", as everyone gets what he worked for, from Bill Gates down to the bum on the street.

This seems to me to be a very reasonable view. "Justice" is sometimes seen as "equality", but perhaps that's largely because people identify it with the phrase, "equal justice under the law".


User currently offlineExarmywarrant From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 267 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 1867 times:

The problem of course is that "justice", like "fairness" defies rational definition.

A free enterprise society is at it's best when there is equal opportunity. It is at it's worst when promising equal results.

As mentioned above, true fairness could easily be defined as getting what you deserve for the hard work you have put in. Of course, that ignores the "unfairness" of varying levels of intelligence, family background, etc.

I think the bottom line is that, even though at times it seems unfair, all of society is best served when initiative, hard work, and yes, intelligence, is rewarded appropriately. As John F. Kennedy said, "A rising tide lifts all boats".


User currently offlineBushpilot From South Africa, joined Jul 2007, 0 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 1862 times:

I would echo comments posted earlier that social or economic justice is an abstract idea. In its simplest form I think of opportunity. Simply leveling the playing field a little when it comes to opportunity to succeed through better education and such. To me it is a stretch to compensate for past wrongs, laziness etc.

User currently offlineExarmywarrant From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 267 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 1855 times:

Quoting Bushpilot (Reply 5):
In its simplest form I think of opportunity. Simply leveling the playing field a little when it comes to opportunity to succeed through better education and such

I would (do) support the idea of outreach to those economically disadvantaged (not race-based). However, until as a society we can get parents to begin to take education seriously again, and until we can figure out a way to stop the explosion of "single motherhood", many will be left behind regardless of how hard we try.

When my children were in grade school, my wife spent a considerable amount of time helping out in the classroom. I remember one little boy who would come to school having obviously dressed himself, having had to breakfast, totally unprepared regarding homework or any home support for his efforts. I don't know whatever happened to him, but I have always feared the worst, despite the teachers' best efforts. Not his fault, but what are you gonna do?


User currently offlineNordair From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 1847 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
What Is "Social" Or "Economic" Justice?

Both are essentially myths. Neither exist in any society.


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