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Distributive Justice - Essay Example

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The term "Distributive justice" in the modern society refers to the distribution of property throughout society in such a way that everybody enjoys a certain level of material means. The state or the government is expected to guarantee distributive justice to its people…
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Download file to see previous pages That is, if the level of goods to be distributed is low, distribution by the market may be enough. But if everyone has to be supplied with enough or more of welfare protections, the state may need to interfere. This can be done by redistributing the goods so as to correct market imperfections. On the other hand, if everyone has to have an equal share of all goods, the state will have to be solely responsible for distributing the goods. Then, private property and the market may have no role. It is understood that distributive justice is necessary to justify property rights, and that it may even involve a rejection of private property. Those influential minority of citizens and theorists who believe that protecting property rights is the central job of justice, question whether distributive demands is actually a justice.
The ancient and the modern meanings of the term "Distributive justice" are very different. That is, in the Aristotelian sense, "distributive justice" was related to the distribution of political status, in the sense that deserving people were rewarded in accordance to their merits and their qualities, and everyone got what they deserved. It was not relevant at all to property rights. The ancient principle was related to the distribution of goods on the basis of merit while the modern one demands a distribution regardless and independent of merit. The modern principle believes that everyone deserves some basic goods regardless of their merit and that merit making should begin only after some basic necessities like housing, health care, and education have been distributed to everyone. This modern principle is quite different from what Aristotle meant when he wrote about political status being distributed on the basis of social or moral status. According to the modern principle, everyone deserves these basic necessities on the virtue of being human. And since everybody is equal, it has to be distributed equally among people.
Formally, justice has been understood to be a rational, enforceable, and practicable virtue. That is because it is actually rational, can be enforced and is practical. It is seen as a secular and rational virtue across different cultures and historical periods, unlike virtues like wisdom or charity which is mostly specific to religions and cultures. This is because the demands of justice can be explained and justified without any relation to religious beliefs and should be a virtue that governments should enforce. Justice should be the prime norm guiding political activity and should be one of the practical and readily achievable goals of the state. We can safely say that promoting belief in Christianity or enlightenment through Buddhism cannot be held as a project for justice because their goodness cannot be explained in terms of secularism or rationality. Similarly, friendship and its associated warmth, although a good thing to almost everyone, cannot be considered an object of justice because it is not an enforced virtue, but is dependent on the un-coerced feelings of individuals towards each other or amongst themselves. Thus, virtues related to religion and culture and feelings like friendship cannot be considered a matter of justice. Also, guarantee of freedom from illnesses and diseases cannot be considered a project of justice because, at least so far, it has been an impossible task to attain.
Moving on to its substantial features, it is generally understood that justice is a virtue that protects ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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