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"This approach is unhelpful and only serves to further the disembodiment of theory from the actual functioning of society."

I have not read everything that Rawls wrote, but from what I read this is an unfair comment.

Rawls does not want to start everything from scratch. He wants to see what can be considered ethical (and bear in mind that when he wrote, there was a significant chunk of the population arguing that ANY inequality would always be unethical).
He posited that to determine that, we should free ourselves from knowing where we would be in society. This is a very fair request. Otherwise, knowing that I'll be a slave owner, I could find reasons to make slavery ethical...

Neither did he reckon that he would find societies completely meeting his criterion. But with this yardstick, we could at least attempt to differentiate between unethical outcomes that we should be trying to curb, and ones that could be considered not only a feature of our society, but a desirable one.

We keep reading the tautology that the ultra-rich wealth is theirs to keep because, well, they deserve it since it is a market outcome. Then the ultra-rich make sure (with money) that this particular market (there are many other ways to organise markets) is maintained, and that "market outcome" continue to be equated with fairness in the media.

Well, if one wants to keep the "actual functioning of society", then that situation will be considered ethical. In Rawls' view, it would not. I know where I stand on that particular matter ;-)

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Sep 30th, 2010 at 04:58:22 AM EST
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