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Equality of Opportunity - Essay Example

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Summary
Equality of opportunity provides individuals to compete against each other on equivalent terms to achieve their place in a social setup. Compared to caste system where the assumption is that society contains hierarchy, and superior and inferior status is determined by birth, equality of opportunity is a unique theory, which promises competition on equal terms.
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Equality of Opportunity

Download file to see previous pages... He questions, is there any system to arrange society, which can keep these issues within tolerable limits And can a social system be organized on just and fair standard that it becomes acceptable to the bulk of population.
According to Rawls, we all agree to have a just social contract with our free will without knowing (ignorance) the ultimate consequences of our decision which he names as "original position". According to the original position, "no-one knows his place in society, his class position or social status, nor does anyone know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence, strength and the like" (Rawls, p 12). Thus behind this "veil of ignorance" different groups will hound their own benefits.
Rawl's explains that all the factions in this hypothetical society will adopt two basic principals: the principal of rights and duties, and the fair distribution of social and economic compensation in a society. The first principal is absolute "each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others (Rawls, p 60), which provides basic rights, such as freedom of speech and expression, and the right to owe property. The first principle is more or less absolute, and may not be violated, however it can be traded for obtaining other rights.
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According to the second principal "social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both: a) to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged, and (b) attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity (Rawls, 1971, pg. 303). Rawls' principal 2(a) is different from the normal form of justice, however he substantiates on the ground of improving the fate of dis-advantaged people. As he explains that equality should not be enacted to deteriorate the condition of a person already in a worse situation. The 2(b) confers the distribution of offices and positions on merit basis, but all aspiring candidates should have the skills on which they will be assessed.


Critics have come up with several arguments against Theory of Justice, such as Rawl's idealism is meant to fulfill ethical ideals rather than real social dilemmas. Rawl mentioned that individuals cannot give up their basic liberties for economic or social benefit, however the ordering of the principles can still create greater inequalities, challenging the basic principals of justice and liberty.

Many question the belief on equal opportunity, if those who have the required IQ and skills grab prized positions, the Individuals with severe mental or physical disabilities will eternally lag behind and will have no place in the such society. These individual with lower skills cannot compete with these intelligent individuals, applying the concept of equal opportunity on such individuals who do not meet the requirements of a competitive society is again a discrimination against the people with lower abilities.


Liberalism has appeared countless times in history. According to the liberalism theory, state should not interfere in individual's life and a person is free to choose the final good for his/her life as long as these aspirations do not conflict with state law. In plain words, the liberalism theory asks state to remain neutral in the citizen's way of life and should treat citizens equal ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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