Theory of Justice is a presentation of political philosophy and ethics work by John Rawls. In his analysis, Rawl aims at solving the issue of distributive justice through the use of the social contract. The theory was meant to solve the differences that existed between equality and liberty in the society. Rawl develops a model that allows people to make hypothetical choices for mutually acceptable principles of justice. According to Rawls, principles of justice would be attractive to parties through the hypothetical choices. This gives the theory an upper hand over libertarian and utilitarian accounts (Rawls, 1999).
Rawls base his argument on an original ground. His view is significantly different from what other social thinkers thought. He claims that justice is defined by deflection of ignorance in the society. He claims that ignorance blinds people all facts concerning themselves barring them from getting the real picture of justice. In his original position theory, he depicts that the theory of justice would aid in governance of rights and duties as well as allocation of economic and social benefits across the society (Rawls, 1999).
There are two main principles that are defined in the Theory of Justice. These theories are Liberty and social and economic inequalities (Rawls, 1999). The later may also be referred to as the wealth principle or the difference principle.
These principles define the relationship between the justice theory and other social theory. Through proper analysis, it is easy to outline the difference that exists between theory and utilitarianism. They also define the application of the theory of justice in the modern system of criminal justice.
Principle of equal liberty
This principle dictates that everyone in the society should be exposed to equal liberty. This refers to the principle as an egalitarian. The main liberties for people in a country include the freedom of speech, freedom of personal property, freedom from arbitrary arrest as well as the political liberty to vote and compete for a government office (Rawls, 1999). Since most of these liberties conflict, they are traded in such a way that one can complement the rest to develop a system of rights. The liberty principle may be defined by the plurality of collections of liberties, depending on the set requirements.
This principle defines the social and economic problems in the society. These principles are organized in such methods that they are to the massive benefits of the disadvantaged in the society, in line with the just savings rule and attached to positions and offices available to all defined by conditions of equality and fairness of opportunity (Rawls, 1999). This means that people in the society should be exposed to equal opportunities in the society. Regardless of the class or the occupation of the individual in the society, there should be equitable distribution of resources in the society. No one should have an upper hand over the other in the definition of equality in the society.
This is an ethical philosophy where the happiness of the majority in the society is considered of massive importance. This philosophy dictates that the definition of the uprightness of an action depends on happiness that may result from the action. If the action leads to the unhappiness of the society the action is deemed wrong. It defines why people prefer some goods while they reject others. Since the link between actions and their consequences are dependent on the circumstances, no moral principle is absolute in itself under utilitarianism (Negative Utilitarianism and Justice, 2012).
Differences between social justice principles and utilitarianism
The difference principle dictates that differences in status, wealth among other traits can be defended if they develop a system of market forces and accumulation of capital whose production makes the lowliest members of the society better off than it would have been defined in a more uncensored system (Negative Utilitarianism and Justice, 2012).
This principle defines the compensation of human rights. It dictates how well people in the society should share their rights. It depicts that all people should be exposed to equal rights with no denial of rights (Negative Utilitarianism and Justice, 2012). Despite the class of an individual, he or she should be treated equally as other people of different class.
In traditional utilitarianism, it is theoretically easy to override human rights if it depicts the maximization of total welfare. However, this is not usually possible since people in the society have become aware of their rights and cannot be denied their rights. Although, welfare maximization is crucial in the society, the utilitarianism theory dictates that it can be denied.
In the theory of justice, difference principle defines that it is not possible to override human rights, even if the principle causes the maintenance of suffering. The theory of justice dictates that all members of the society should be exposed to equal rights in the society without segregation of any. This is among the central differences that exist between the principle of theory of justice and the utilitarianism theory.
The second difference is based on the compensation of economic welfare in the society. The main objective of the traditional utilitarianism is the maximization of total welfare in the society. The theory assumes that the economic welfare is related or is connected to the general welfare of the society. The theory argues that the negative welfare of the minority in the society can be compensated by the positive welfare of the majority in the society (Negative Utilitarianism and Justice, 2012).
In the theory of justice, this is not the case. The theory defines compensation of economic welfare in terms of the difference principle. The principle defines that compensation for economic welfare should be directed mainly to those who have low economic welfare and not vice versa.
The other difference is based on the compensation among generations. The traditional utilitarianism dictates that it is possible to reimburse the suffering of one cohort with joy of another generation. In the justice theory, the provision is essentially different. It depicts that generational compensation is not possible. It is protected by the intergenerational impartiality (Negative Utilitarianism and Justice, 2012).
Definition of theories of justice by modern criminal justice
One of the main aims of the society is fight for equality for all individuals. This is what is referred to as justice in the society. It is a situation where all people are equal before the law despite the difference that may exist between members of the society. In the past, cases of injustice were extremely difficult to solve. They were extremely many in comparison to what was known as justice then. However, in the modern society it has gotten into the mind of every member of the society that they are all equal, and no one should be out to outdo the rest in terms of equality before the law (Smith & Natalier, 2005). This has brought in the rise of agencies against injustice in the society.
The aim of these agencies is to fight for equal rights for people in the lower class in the society. In most cases, these people are denied chances for equal representation before the law. Depending on one’s class justice is given or denied. These agencies aim at ensuring that the minority are listened to and their voices are considered in any decision that the court wishes to take on them (Smith & Natalier, 2005).
In the past, it used to happen that whenever, a well up individual was caught against the law can easily buy justice and win over the minority. These agencies have come with an aim of removing the gap between the minority and the wealthy in the society in terms of justice implantation.
These agencies keep the government in its toes to ensure that the constitution is well defined for all people in the society to be able to define their rights. It fights for civic awareness among the members of the society, giving them a chance to understand some basic of the constitution of the country. These agencies dictate that all criminal cases should be treated on an equal platform and platform to ensure justice in the society (Smith & Natalier, 2005).
In most cases, people do not differentiate between justice and security in the society. Justice may not be influenced by an individual in the society, but security can be self influenced. Security may be defined by being free from life threats like enemies. It may be exceedingly difficult for these agencies to offer justice to all people in the society. It may be a tremendously expensive exercise.
Depending on the ability of an individual one may buy security unlike justice, which is determined by the law governing the society.
Theory of justice is a vital tool in the definition of rights in the society. It depicts how rights and resources in the society need be allocated. It pushes for equality in the allocation of rights as well as welfare in the society. However, its principles are challenged by other theories like the utilitarianism theory, which seems remarkably different from the provisions of theory of justice. On the other hand, the theory of justice is supported by the modern society in terms of interpretation of the modern criminal justice system.
Negative Utilitarianism and Justice. (2012, May 23). Socrethics. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://www.socrethics.com/Folder2/Justice.htm
Rawls, J. (1999). A theory of justice (Rev. Ed.). Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Smith, P., & Natalier, K. (2005).Understanding criminal justice sociological perspectives. London: SAGE.
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