Rawls is an egalitarian i. e. he believes in the equal distribution of wealth as a critical way in achieving social equilibrium. This is basically a liberal theory with the underlying tone of helping the disadvantaged individuals. Rawls theory is introduced in a hypothetical-contract approach, and the features are 1- Original position, 2- Veil of Ignorance, 3- The Maximin rule 4- The two basic principles 5- The Difference principle application 1- The Original Position.
According to Rawls (1971), the original position suggest a situation where various people with different backgrounds congregate for the purpose of choosing solely on the basis of self-interest (Shaw and Barry, 2001). This constitutes a purely hypothetical situation and focus on rational economic distribution in order to realize justice. In other words, the original position will result in better agreement in choosing the principles of justice since everyone act under freedom of choice and in their best interest (D' Agostino, 2003).
2- The Veil of Ignorance Rawls opined that people in the Original Position must have no knowledge about personality and the future. The veil of ignorance would effectively remove any social position and would be assumed as rational, objective and impartial in their decisions. In Shaw and Barry (2001), it is observed that the veil of ignorance coerced people in original position to allow for better agreement among them. 3- The Maximin Rule Rawls' theory argues that all inequalities must benefit the disadvantage i. e. maximizing the minimum one should receive.
This does not means that everyone should get equal wealth but, rather, any inequalities must be directed to everyone without exception. For example, a clerical in a financial institution is given the opportunity to find food, shelter and spiritual needs. And this opportunity is also given to her CEO. While the choice of the needs that they have will be govern by their income, Rawls opined that this is fair since the opportunity is equal.
Further, according to Rawls, injustice only happens when the inequalities do not benefit the community as a whole. In the above example, the maximin rule work by ensuring that the people in original position is not concern about distribution of value but the socio-economic arrangement in ensuring the maximum minimum. 4- The Basic Principles of Justice Rawls (Shaw and Barry, 2001) deliberated that people in the original position will consent to two basic principles, namely: – 1- Everyone shall have equal and similar rights to the most extensive social liberty.
2- Social and economic inequalities be redistributed to satisfy two conditions: First, it must be attached to all positions and the offices must be equally open for all under equal right conditions; secondly' it has to be the greatest benefit to the least advantaged members of society. Rawls express that the first principle takes priority over the second and the liberties that he meant are more inclined towards freedom of thoughts, conscience and religions. 5- The Difference Principle
In justifying inequality in a society, Rawls advocated that the inequality must benefit the least advantaged group in the society. His view is that this will allow situations where the inequalities will correct the imbalance of wealth distributions. Putting it simply, this means that a worker who puts in extra hours should be paid accordingly if the effort results in overall increase of society's cake i. e. everyone will better. Therefore, the worker should be paid extra even though the payment will result in inequalities.
Criticism and Objections of the Theory of Justice Every theory on morality has been criticized and John Rawls is no exception. While he has been very clear on his objective in wealth sharing, John Rawls' idea is criticized for various issues from various schools of thoughts. Due to space constrain, only major objections are listed down. 1- The conflict by depicting of egoist characteristic in the original position. As explained earlier, the original position indicate people as self-interest, individualistic approached i. e. egoist.
Egoists are people who will undergo pain as long as long-term interest is advanced for their benefits. Egoist also have environmental knowledge of current and future views thus egoist self-interest meaning differs than the self-interest meant in Rawls' original position. Whilst Rawls assumed that people in the original position are egoists, the fact is that not everybody is egoist (charity workers, philanthropist, parents etc. ). Since there can be non-egoist influence in the original position, it will not produce justice as advocated by the principle (Shaw and Barry, 2001).
The Original position The idea of people in original position seems to be too farfetched as it seems the ability for people to return to such nature is impossible (Treanor, 2003). However, according to hypothetical social contract theory, people could achieve such nature as it an assumed scenario as opposed to original position (Shaw and Barry, 2001). Thus the critics argued that the original position couldn't be achieved in view of the egoist influence and the assumption that original position cannot actually happen.
Veil of Ignorance allows people in the original position to be rational, objective and impartial in making decisions. However, this cannot be true as there is egoist influence i. e. some people gamble, take risks, and practice favoritism in making decision. Whilst Rawls argues that the veil of ignorance is supposed to cut such influences, these influences cannot be controlled in view of the current socioeconomic structure (Jedicke, 1997). Its also a concept forces society to forget its own characteristic vis-i?? -vis the society and this is nearly impossible to do.