Social Justice

social justice

Social Justice is an ideal which, in most definitions has two basic assumptions:
  • equality is moral: that the happiness of one person cannot be considered more important than any another, see: egalitarian
  • society exists: that there are basic, "inalienable" or "inherent" rights in society which belong to all, by the agreement of all, belong to all, and these need to be protected enforced or provided by the state. see: social contract

Thus it is immoral for society to allow certain people or groups to suffer in lack of certain basic rights, and that if private enterprise or individual charity can't satisfy these rights, that the government must do something about it.

Different definitions of social justice differ mainly in which rights are considered to be "inalienable" and in reality, the notion of what rights should be guaranteed is a evolving, generally with progressive individuals adding more rights to the list of what is essential, and conservatives arguing that the current set is sufficient or already goes to far.

[+] a liberal position on social justice

[+] a conservative position on social justice

[+] a socialist position on social justice.

[+] a libertarian position on social justice

[+] a feminist position on social justice.

[+] an environmentalist position on social justice.

[+] Aspects of Social Justice

[+] Some definitions

Some Suggested Models for Social Justice

Social justice can be a slippery idea to get one's head around. Previous attempts on my part have ended up with me longing for a more manageable task, herding ferrets, or something.

This is how some others have modelled it. Please add other examples.

Ontario Coalition for Social Justice
- expanding the quality, accessibility and universality of health care, education and social welfare programmes
- promoting anti-racism
- advocating economic policies that protect the rights of workers and lead to fair employment with compensation at a liveable wage
- protecting the programmes and services that ensure our quality of life in Ontario

Centre for Social Justice
- Democracy and Corporate Power
- Inequality - race, gender, economic, health
- Peace and Justice

Citizens for Public Justice
- Socioeconomic issues
- Faith and public life
- Refugees
- Aboriginal issues

Green Party of the U.S.
- Civil Rights and Equal Rights
- Environmental Justice
- Economic Justice/Social Safety Net
- Welfare: A commitment to ending poverty
- Education and the Arts
- Health Care
- Labour
- Criminal Justice
- Population
- Free Speech and Media Reform
- Immigration/Emigration
- Housing and Homelessness

Injustice thrives on invisibility. When people's interests are not represented, they are quickly forgotten. Amartya Sen reminds us that even the most 'efficient' economy (which, after a Green tax shift, would also be environmentally efficient) doesn't mean much for social welfare.

A person who starts off ill-endowed may stay poor and deprived even after the transactions, and if {efficiency} is all that competition offers, the propertyless person may be forgiven for not regarding this achievement as a "big deal."

from Sen, A. 1977. "Rational Fools: A Critique of the Behavioural Foundations of Economic Theory." Philosophy and Public Affairs 6(4): 317-344