ECON1P91 Assignment 7.docx - Short Essay Consider what extent economic inequality is right or wrong I prefer a liberal ethicist’s approach A liberal

ECON1P91 Assignment 7.docx - Short Essay Consider what...

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Short Essay Consider what extent economic inequality is right or wrong, I prefer a liberal ethicist’s approach. A liberal ethicist will recommend equal basic rights, equality of opportunity, and promoting the interests of the least advantaged members of society. For example, John Rawls, an American moral and political philosopher in the liberal tradition, stated that “social and economic inequalities are to satisfy two conditions: first, they are to be attached to positions and offices open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity; and second, they are to be to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged members of society” (Rawls, n.d.). Rawls's principle has two parts. The first part, fair equality of opportunity, requires that citizens with the same talents and willingness to use them have the same educational and economic opportunities regardless of whether they were born rich or poor. “In all parts of society there are to be roughly the same prospects of culture and achievement for those similarly motivated and endowed” (JF, p. 44). The second part is the difference principle, which regulates the distribution of wealth and income. It allows inequalities of wealth and income because it can lead to a larger social product, so long as these will be to everyone's advantage, and specifically to the advantage of those who will be worst off. The difference principle requires, that is, that any economic inequalities be to the greatest advantage of those who are advantaged least. For example, consider four hypothetical economic structures A-D, and the lifetime- average levels of income that these different economic structures would result in for representative members of three groups: In this example, C is the one which adheres the difference principle, because it contains the distribution where the least-advantaged group does best. Inequalities in C are to everyone's advantage relative to a completely equal distribution (Economy A), and relative to a more equal
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distribution (Economy B). But the difference principle does not allow the rich to get richer at the
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  • Spring '08
  • COTTRELL

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