Justice is defined as awarding each person what they deserve in a free and fair manner that does not require any form of persuasion. Economic justice therefore addresses the individual or society’s ethical policies which are established and are used to define the institutions which address economic matters (Nathanson, 5). The economic principles thus provide guidance on the earning of the individual from specific endeavors they pursue, the type of employment contracts they take part in, level of trade and how they go about to set up their economical viability for existence within the society. The main objective of economic justice is to enable individuals in the society to act freely in their quest to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families.
Economic justice is a system which involves participation, production and an analysis of response to the actions involved so as harmonize what is considered as input to the resultant output. There are three important principles which define the economic justice system which rely on each other to generate economic sense ( Kurland, Brohawn and Greaney, 202). These are the principles of:
- The Participation principle
- The Distribution principle
- The Harmony principle
In cases where one or more of these principles is neglected, weak or poorly implemented, the economic justice as applied in the system will be ineffective.
The participation principle
This is keen on how individuals in the society contribute or input in existing economic process to survive materially. It focuses on providing same chances of individuals acquiring personal goods in form of property and also enables each person’s equal chance to take part in useful work. This however does not assure the participants in any productive activity equality in output but guarantees the individuals same application of human rights and principles established in the society. This is directed towards their input in the economy’s productive process through their own endeavors or capital applied individually in the process (Rawls, 200). Therefore, the principle discourages formation of a monopoly in the society, personalized privileges to specific individuals in the society as well as other barriers established on social grounds which favor a certain individual or groups in the economy.
The Distribution Principle
This principle is bent on the results or outcomes based on contribution by individuals in the economic production system of justice. Whatever capital or endeavors were that were employed in productive work are hereby measured. Depending on how labor and private property in capital is utilized in the economy, the distribution principle is then expressly connected with the principle of participative justice (Rawls, 271). This therefore enables input to be linked to output. The principle emphasizes utmost adherence and respect to private property and any legally recognized contracts. This ensures a free and level market place for any individual involved in economic production which circumvents the government. This is the main idea and autocratic way for fair pricing, proportionate to work payment system and a justified gain from the same. The misunderstanding of these principle and that of charity often leads to conflict and the distinction should be clarified as; distributive principle is about what one engages as input but charity is about what one needs. The confusion often leads to scarcity which is the main economic problem that makes demand go way above the available supply and therefore, inevitably, the government is drawn in to quell the confusion that brings about social disorder (Walt, 45).
The Harmony Principle
The third principle addresses the reaction to the application of the principle of distribution and the principle of contribution. This is tries to evaluate the weaknesses of the economic system as applied in the first two principles and seek ways to satisfy any gaps or deficits that would potentially lead to a state of dissatisfaction ( Kurland, Brohawn and Greaney, 203). This principle is dishonored when unfair barriers are introduced in the economic system especially through monopolies or well placed individuals through wealth or social status to create undue advantage. This either exploits other participants in productivity or creates an unfavorable environment which negatively affects others input or output thus harming them. Monopolies cannot be totally avoided in the society and thus this principle takes into consideration the fact that if well managed, they can still work for the good of the society. This is what is termed as creating the economic harmonies which is plainly explained as allowing only those adjustments in social circles by privileged groups or individuals that will positively benefit the rest of the society as well as the individuals. The harmony principle establishes rules for managing monopolies within the society by having well defined control measures in their individual undertakings. This principle unlike the principles of participation and distribution seeks to address social values that would encourage peaceful existence in the society as everyone goes on with their personal duties to earn a living. Some of the values include; love, honesty, integrity, truth and beauty in personal executions in relation to others endeavors. This principle was also known as the Principle of limitation as put forward by Kelso and Adler, great writers on economic issues affecting the American society (Kurland, Brohawn and Greaney, 203). The principle is not entirely against monopoly but the type that is associated with blind greed that is able to affect other people in the society either through ensuring they do not participate or by exploiting them in one’s productivity. Therefore, this principle pursues the fact that in order for a peaceful coexistent in players within an economic setting, justice must be sought at all costs.
Based on the utilitarian theory, I believe that the economic justice is very important in upgrading the general economic structure and worth of any particular society because it aims at bringing up everyone that is genuinely interested in a certain productivity function. Utilitarianism insists on having the best or average good of everyone that is involved or interested in a specific situation (Shaw, 28). I acknowledge the fact decisions are always geared towards the unfortunate or weaker members of the society not being exploited or cut off from opportunities by able and well placed members of the society. This provides room for creativity and innovation with a guarantee of fair and good returns for individual efforts irrespective of power or share that is held in an economy. This provides high quality in ideas and work done by individuals as opposed to controlled environment where the government is centrally involved. The level of truth associated within the productive system under economic justice act as an incentive to enhance high productivity because of the assured recognition and reward of each and every individual effort irrespective of the social and economic limits. This system emphasizes the importance of every individual taking a chance in public opportunities whenever they feel they can deliver because everything is done in a transparent manner, qualification and success is guaranteed. Therefore every mind in the economy is made to work hard and the result is uplift in social welfare because everyone has something to show for their diligence in productivity. This system is also unique because it does use greed which is otherwise a social vice, in a much positive way. It perceives greed in terms of benefit and establishes controls which are vital in ensuring the greedy work extra hard to benefit themselves and in the process the rest of the society (Hahnel, 125). One cannot ignore existence of people who want more for themselves and if not allowed to do what they need done legally, the society will lose because the greedy always find ways to satisfy themselves whether legal or not. By introducing controls to minimize harm, the government and the society consciously or unconsciously avert criminal activities and tendencies through the set up system that taxes the greedy for the predetermined and ‘allowable’ harm caused to the society. This should not be interpreted to undermine those who are more gifted and can do more or get more of an activity done. This is no greed but actually a natural talent which if not checked in the confines of greed might in one way or another have the same results as greed. The economic justice system therefore rewards efforts of the individual to themselves as well as the society at large. This means that, only the productive section of the society shares in the benefit and not everyone. The system is designed to grant equal opportunities to those who dare to venture in specific production activities and therefore if one is lazy or does not participate, they are not expected to benefit. For those who participate, they can be assured of full and proportionate benefit from their effort or capital employed in the production system. The economic system through eliminating or minimizing government involvement in the production market ensures minimal levels of power play in decision making, ensures adherence to express and implied social norms which govern free and fair distribution of resources resulting from personal initiatives (Jimenez, 20). Therefore levels of social vices like corruption are checked which boosts participation level of individual in production.
Despite the system being friendly and rewarding to everyone involved in the production efforts, several weaknesses exist. As much as everyone can act and operate freely in production under the economic justice system, poverty and social classes naturally hold back individuals efforts to participate and contribute in ventures that they would prefer in undertaking. This therefore introduces a natural sense of disadvantage and there is no legal way to forcefully empower people by taking away what belongs to others rightfully. This means that, theoretically the economic justice system is understood and its intentions mean well but we cannot use it to take wealth from some people and make the less fortunate use it in production. Productivity unfortunately does not all the time require labor, but needs a combination of both resources and labor (Pa%u0308iva%u0308nsalo, 143). One can do without labor but not without resources because through resources one can hire laborers. In certain situations, however, the economic justice system ensures that those with skills and know how get into mutually benefitting contracts with the wealthy. This therefore creates a natural balance between the two parties but what of the case where the wealthy are the skill owners? No rule on earth can control a situation of exploitation especially when the less fortunate are asking for a share of the skill part of a venture of which the wealthy do not necessarily need (Pa%u0308iva%u0308nsalo, 146). This often leads to people making more money and getting benefits than others and it is allowed as long as they give get it in a fair manner. This is unlike socialism where in some different way; opportunities are limited to everyone until everyone is considered. The economic justice system by allowing some harm for the benefit of the society by successful individuals tends to value profits more than ethics. This is dangerous especially when one knows the price of engaging in unethical or immoral practice to make gains is structured and allowed to a certain degree. This therefore results in scenarios where priorities in rewarding productivity are inverted. Such an example is having a football star earn many more times than a medical surgeon who saves lives on a daily basis. Finally, by making the powers of the government inexistent or play a minor role in the market regulation, the economic justice system losses on some benefit whereby final decisions can be made for the benefit of the majority irrespective of their social class or economic status (Walt, 46). The free and fair aspect of contribution, participation and harmonizing the two can be biased in terms of success and wealth. If more people lack the resources to attempt a certain venture but have an opinion its execution, they simply cannot air their views because it would sound ridiculous. In such cases, democracy through legislation can have their input acknowledged and appreciated in the endeavors.
In conclusion, utilitarianism as used in evaluation of the economic justice system is meant to be of help when analyzing the feedback in relation to the participation and contributive aspects of an economic productive system. The benefits realized are a direct reflection of the effort that was inputted and so this acts a great motivator for the society at large to take part in available production chances if only to make things work (Shaw, 98). Utilitarianism highlights the ability for individuals to be accountable for what they earn and what they share out to the rest in a fair and equal manner that would enable the weaker members of the society to appreciate a reciprocating move whenever they get a chance to be productive. This encourages communal productivity and people interact more to learn and assist in whatever ways they can for a common purpose. The economic justice theory is suitable for any social setting and inevitably uplifts individual efforts in production.