Your take on a John Rawls Compatible society?

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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24 December 2018 09:12
 

Noted political philosopher John Rawls proposed a theory of “justice as fairness”, which included a though experiment, bolded below:

wikipedia:

Rawls’s theory of “justice as fairness” recommends equal basic rights, equality of opportunity, and promoting the interests of the least advantaged members of society. Rawls’s argument for these principles of social justice uses a thought experiment called the “original position”, in which people select what kind of society they would choose to live under if they did not know which social position they would personally occupy. In his later work Political Liberalism (1993), Rawls turned to the question of how political power could be made legitimate given reasonable disagreement about the nature of the good life.

My broad strokes would be something like this:

- universal healthcare
- affordable, decent housing and food
- meaningful education through high school (including vocational training)
- aid for the disabled
- a shovel for the unemployed (the opportunity for decent pay for a humane day’s work)
- a graduated tax code with no deductions or loopholes


How would you construct such a society?

 

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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24 December 2018 22:02
 

I suspect its impossible to force it. Attempts to correct inequality by force seem consistently disastrous. I think improvements are cultural. Improving education and a cultural appreciation of knowledge seems to increase compassion and moral intelligence. Many of the arguments I hear in favor of nationalism, isolationism, zero sum economies and un generous lifestyles reduce to ignorance of how commerce and culture and social communities (humans being one) really work.

Learning about other cultures and other belief structures at an early age seems critical. Remaining in a bubble of local affirmation until adulthood seems virtually certain to produce the opposite attitude of what Rawls suggests.

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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25 December 2018 07:55
 
Brick Bungalow - 24 December 2018 10:02 PM

I suspect its impossible to force it. Attempts to correct inequality by force seem consistently disastrous. I think improvements are cultural. Improving education and a cultural appreciation of knowledge seems to increase compassion and moral intelligence. Many of the arguments I hear in favor of nationalism, isolationism, zero sum economies and un generous lifestyles reduce to ignorance of how commerce and culture and social communities (humans being one) really work.

Learning about other cultures and other belief structures at an early age seems critical. Remaining in a bubble of local affirmation until adulthood seems virtually certain to produce the opposite attitude of what Rawls suggests.

I would say that the outline I gave “forces” very little. It provides opportunities, but it does not demand that they be accepted.

 
 
hannahtoo
 
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hannahtoo
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25 December 2018 09:46
 

Possibly the most problematic of the three prongs is “promoting the interests of the least advantaged members of society.”  Depending on how this is defined and practiced, it can lead to feelings of appreciation and security, or else entitlement and taking advantage. 

The proposed society seems to assume more of a collectivist than and individualistic view.

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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25 December 2018 09:55
 

Ho Ho Ho Hannah,

I offered a six-part recipe that I think addresses your concerns:

hannah:

Possibly the most problematic of the three prongs is “promoting the interests of the least advantaged members of society.”  Depending on how this is defined and practiced, it can lead to feelings of appreciation and security, or else entitlement and taking advantage.

In my proposal, there is no guarantee of income for those who are able to work. There is only a guarantee of paid work, if you choose to take it on.

hannah:

The proposed society seems to assume more of a collectivist than and individualistic view.

I would say that my proposal is no more collectivist than what we’ve currently got. It’s just that now we sometimes implement our collectivism under other guises, and do so inefficiently. For example, we don’t provide universal healthcare, but we all pay for the uninsured to go to the ER.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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25 December 2018 14:21
 
icehorse - 25 December 2018 07:55 AM
Brick Bungalow - 24 December 2018 10:02 PM

I suspect its impossible to force it. Attempts to correct inequality by force seem consistently disastrous. I think improvements are cultural. Improving education and a cultural appreciation of knowledge seems to increase compassion and moral intelligence. Many of the arguments I hear in favor of nationalism, isolationism, zero sum economies and un generous lifestyles reduce to ignorance of how commerce and culture and social communities (humans being one) really work.

Learning about other cultures and other belief structures at an early age seems critical. Remaining in a bubble of local affirmation until adulthood seems virtually certain to produce the opposite attitude of what Rawls suggests.

I would say that the outline I gave “forces” very little. It provides opportunities, but it does not demand that they be accepted.

For sure. No intention to suggest otherwise. Just reflecting on the spectrum of approaches in general.

 
hannahtoo
 
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hannahtoo
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25 December 2018 14:23
 

I don’t think your ideas aren’t reasonable.  I’m just thinking the devil is in the details. 

Dealing fairly with disabilities can be a tricky thing.  I’m involved (non-professionally) in the mental health community.  Family members wonder how about the line between disability and responsibility for a mentally ill person.  How much leeway they should be given for missing work, for example?  Or how much assistance after poor choices?  The world of the mental illness overlaps considerably with drug abuse and homelessness and incarceration.  Who can actually hold a job, and who can’t?  No simple fixes.  Not that I think you are implying there are.  You were just providing a broad outline.

What our culture needs to come to agreement on is how much responsibility we collectively have for the individuals who are not making it in our society.  Whenever I hear a discussion of a safety net, someone will bring up cheaters and finagling with benefits.  So this discussion is a lot about human nature and how to encourage our best proclivities.