Liberal philosophy is aimed to better the nation by regulating policies that have a great deal to do with the system of justice in a society in accordance with people’s needs, wants and abilities, not to mention opportunities. John Rawls was a thinker who made great effort to explain and universally define justice through explaining the qualities each layer of society possessed and to what outcomes it led. He was a person who addressed the issue of division between people, leading to distributive justice in relation to the economic environment, private and public needs.
There are three components that make the framework of the social equality and explain how people can function in reaching the common goal. The first component relates to the society being a form of “cooperative venture” between different institutions and groups of people. Any nation will have a social interdependence where the government relies on the people and vice versa. At the same time, people need to cooperate with each other to support the order of daily activities that are necessary for everyone.
There is a heavy infrastructure, physical and mental, which must be maintained, such as transportation, the economy and the general obedience to laws that regulate behavior. The second component is that in a society, which is based on the cooperative venture, everyone must agree on the rules or laws of justice. This pertains to the fact that people must find equality amongst themselves, and, in turn, this will lead to almost the same environmental opportunities. This will lessen the competition and increase an opportunity to select the most beneficial way of life. Also, people will be able to apply their skills properly, which will allow everyone an equal chance to cooperate. The third component proposes a definition of justice as being fair to all, and, as a result, it will lead to higher moral values within the society. Fairness is based on a universal set or rules and laws, which must be obeyed, but the justice system serves a purpose of looking at each case individually, which will be fair on the consideration of all the factors or reasons that played a role in the situation.
Rawls generates two principles, which are important in the enforcement, definition and preservation of justice. The first relates to liberalism and fairness for all, but the second one is more specific. Rawls explains a social reality where one part of the population consists of people with more skills and opportunities to better their life, and others consist of those who are constantly lacking in the said opportunities. The second principle is based on the fact that those who do not have an opportunity will receive welfare from people who are “higher” in the society; so, it is a form of a tradeoff or reciprocity that exists between two social divisions. Those with more resources owe those with little opportunity because of the benefits to increase their wealth.
This type of distributive justice sounds fair, although it still separates people according to their abilities and amount of opportunities, which make people unequal in the social and individual sense. The “safety net” can be seen in a form of this dependant relationship because if everyone had equal abilities and opportunities, there would be too much competition, while those with little chance to develop their resource “provide” a type of opportunity for others to prosper. However, this part of society expects something in return, which is social support through welfare and other programs.
Liberals like Rawls are clearly favoring the equality of the outcome because there is already an admission of the separation, and no particular offerings of solutions to change the situation. The division between social classes or people is taken as a given, so people are expected to follow these frameworks without a chance to change the system. It deals with the output; it accepts the existing division, trying to equate the end result, whereas it should address the source of division. The solution here would be to provide equal and free education to all people. Thus, they will have the opportunity, instead of being stuck in a vicious cycle of having no resources for development and receiving the minimally “governmentally determined” necessities to continue surviving without evolvement. This principle has several weaknesses. People are unique individuals, and separating them into two groups is already a form of injustice, illustrating how the whole concept is flawed. At the same time, it is possible to suppose that people will refuse to take jobs with lower salary and worse conditions; so, the whole parts of industry will be lost because everyone will be well-educated and will want to take higher positions. This criticism is valid because in order to solve the problem one must look at its source, instead of the end result. It is as if trying to start a car without an engine by rotating the tires or washing it repeatedly, no matter how much effort is applied, the root of the problem will still exist.
Overall, the question of justice and separation within the population is difficult to pinpoint precisely. People choose school, career and life according to personal conditions and understanding. However, it is clear that society and the smallest percent of the population is doing very little to change the situation. The prices for education are rising and the separation continues. The mere prospect of keeping the goals of balancing social classes by the outcomes of inequalities will not lead to any consequences. This will keep people separated, whereas a new system must unite people with a shared opportunity. In reality, it cannot be said that there are people without skills, they must only be discovered.