Theoryof Justice as presented by John Rawls, has two basic principles ofthe justice system. The first principle dwells on equality inassigning of basic duties and rights. The second one states thateconomic and social inequalities are just when they increase benefitsof the less fortunate in the society (Rawls 18). His argument is,however, not in line with the real world situations. For instance,one could argue that without clear substantiation, his claim thatnatural resources do not cause difficulty to the societal developmentis implausible. Friedman’s theory of Capitalism and Freedom ispresented in an inconsistent manner. For example, arguments made bythe author on money spending is not consistent. At first he directsthat the corporation’s money was the stakeholders’ money, butlater he depicts that the corporation’s money was again thecustomers’ money. Nozick proposal is somewhat similar to bothRawl’s and Friedman’s proposals. They all view politicalphilosophy as having little regard to the ground justice in humannature and affairs. Considering the arguments, it is sound tocriticize the proposal that the federal government, through a steepincrease in inheritance taxes, should provide every individual, uponreaching the age of 18, with a lump sum payment of $100,000. However,the claims of Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto would viewthe proposal as a defense to the private freedom ofbourgeois-controlled property.
Q1.Critiquing the proposal using the writings of Friedman and Rawls
Friedman’s“The Relations between Economic Freedom and Political Freedom”.
Eventhough the author was an economist, his argument about the economicfreedom does not principally reflect an economic argument. It is moreof a moral argument. And thus his writing would criticize theproposal that the federal government, through a steep increase ininheritance taxes, should provide every individual, upon reaching theage of 18, with a lump sum payment of $100,000. Essentially, theauthor argues that freedom implies and includes economic freedom butin the case of this proposal, it does not give freedom of choice tothe individuals. He depicts economic freedom as not only the rightof the citizens to act freely in the economic matters but for themarkets to be freed of the government regulation (Friedman 9). Simplyput, free market, according to Friedman is an essential part ofliberty in a free society. The moral argument evident in his argumentregards the definition of liberty and his assertion that libertyshould include economic freedom. The economic freedom in this casemeant free market with minimal government interference and control.This kind of argument can be contrasted to the arguments of otheradvocates for free market whose points of views are squarely based onits benefits and not the definition of liberty.
Atfirst Friedman jettisoned corporation as a legal fiction but hisentire argument is based on a different legal reality, the law ofagency (Friedman 14). He makes this last legal reality the foundationof the conclusion of his proposal. The organization in his articleformed a mere legal fiction which he initially ignores in order provehis pre-dominant conclusion. The author thus seem to choose and pickwhich part of the legal reality are mere legal fiction to be ignoredand which parts form the solid parts of the public policy. The choiceused by the author in picking this parts of the legal reality seemedto have been based on the predetermined conclusion sought to beachieved in the argument.
Theother reason for critiquing the proposal is that it would increasethe use of corporation’s money according to Friedman. At first hedirects that the Corporation’s money was the stakeholders’ money,but later he depicts that the corporation’s money was again thecustomers’ money. The author argued that when a corporate executivedevote money for social activities, the spending would reduce thestockholder’s returns since the executive would be spending theirmoney. This shows that the corporation simply assumed away theexistence of corporations as legal fiction, thus the corporation’smoney just converts into stockholder’s money. The author goes aheadand explains that as the corporate executive’s actions raiseproduct prices, the executive is spending customers’ money(Friedman 17). So the organization’s money suddenly becomes theCustomer’s money in this fictional world. This argument thus isinconsistent in its presentation.
Rawls’“Theory of Justice”
First,Rawls argue that no individual deserves merit for greater naturalcapacity, therefore, the proposal would be impractical. It is thusfair to ask, if an individual is not allowed to gain from theirtalents without improving the situations of those negatively favoredby the natural resources, then why should people with control ofnatural resources be allowed to improve their status withoutimproving other people’s situation. According to the author, thedifference principle does not allow the society to treat thehandicapped as though they are capable of competing on a fair basisof the same race as those without physical challenges. He assertsthat this principle directs that those favored by nature should onlygain their fortune through improving the situations that the lessfortunate in the society have (Rawls 12). Through this argument,Rawls illustrates that natural resources in the world do not belongto humanity. He proclaims that just like an individual owns histalent, a state has the right to own and utilize its naturalresources however it contends.
Thecritique of the proposal is also shown when the assumes in hishypothetical examples of two countries which start at same level ofwealth and concludes that it is unacceptable to transfer funds to thepastoral one without justifying the dis-analogy. Rawls proposes inhis argument by using a case of a pastoral society and anindustrialized society. His assumption is that if these two countriesstarted at the same wealth level, then taxing the industrializednation and transferring its funds to help the pastoral nation isunacceptable (Rawls 18). Considering the principle of difference,different agents have different natural possessions and that theagents must be aware of the risk brought by these differences. It isthus unrealistic to deny international difference principle by justassuming that different societies started at same wealth levels.
Withoutclear substantiation, his claim that natural resources do not causedifficulty to the societal development is implausible. Rawls arguesthat natural resources cannot cause any difficulty to the developmentof a society. Instead, he explains that the society’s philosophicalculture, political, religious, and moral practices comprises thebasic structure of the social and political institutions (Rawls 21).Assuming that the proposition is valid, then Rawls implies that eventhough the society cannot decide the amount of natural resources tohave, this factor does count. Therefore, the argument does notsupport the proposal.
Q2.Using Nozick’s proposal to support the writings of Rawls andFriedman.
Allthe theories jump off by the sweeping statement of supreme justice.The writings view justice to mean various things such as havingrights, equality and fairness and thus it would be sound to supportthe proposal. In Nozick’s Libertarian Theory of Justice, the termlibertarian is used to refer to people who support free market, smallgovernments and negative rights (Mitchell 4). Through this theory,justice is brought out in the sense that it allows the people to haveproperty rights provided their possessions were obtained fairly. Theauthor describes conception of property rights using threeprinciples. The first is that a person who acquires his property withprinciple justice in acquisition has entitlement for the property.Secondly, when a person acquired a property through transfer fromsomeone who was entitled to the property, the recipient is entitledof the property.
Thesame kind of justice system is fostered by both Rawls and Friedman intheir proposals. For instance, Rawls argues that there is need forthe development of justice principles that ensure fair distributionof resources to the citizens. He uses two principles to show thejustice needed in the system. The first is that each person must haveequal rights to the basic rights consistent with the system ofliberty for all. Secondly, economic and social inequalities shouldsatisfy two conditions. First they must be attached to offices andpositions open to every person under fair equality. Lastly, theyshould be the greatest potential benefits of the less fortunate inthe society.
Nozickagrees with Rawl’s argument that currently least well-offindividuals must have descended from the previous victims ofinjustice (Mitchell 20). In regard to the governmental wealthredistribution, Nozick clearly admits that his theory of entitlementis not sufficient enough to refute the demands for theredistributionist state. He asserts that in reality, some of thecollective holdings must have been acquired through original acts ofunjust conquest. As such, Nozick agrees that the Rawls-likedifference principle is morally applicable. The two thus agrees withthe term of rectification on the sense that those less fortunate inthe current societies derive their poverty from the past injusticesimposed on their forefathers. This brings about the principle ofrectification of injustice in the holdings. This principle presumablyutilizes best estimates of the available information about what couldhave occurred in case the injustice had not been done. The authorsnote that if past injustices shaped the existing holdings then thereis need for rectification of the said holdings.
Theyall view political philosophy as having little regard to the groundjustice in the human nature and affairs. The writings regardpolitical philosophy to be an exercise of the abstract theoryproduction with little demand of the conformity of actual citizens ofa country (Mitchell 23). Therefore, these theories rate the successof a society by the closeness and adherence of its procedures andlaws to the established models rather that maximized moral outcomes. As such, the theories follow the doctrine developed Kant whichasserted that there is need for justice to triumph even if the worldwould perish along with it.
Thesesupporting points are, however, insufficient since they only addressisolated areas of the proposals while the majority of the proposalsappear inadequately presented. The critiquing points on the proposalspresented by Friedman and Rawls clearly outweigh the supportingpoints. Also, the critiquing points are more elaborate and coverextensively wide scopes of the writings thus substantially holdingmore weight. The counter arguments do not adequately justify thelegality or the morality of exercising this proposal. This counterargument is thus inadequate and ultimately unconvincing.
Q3.Claims of Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto view it as achallenge to the private freedom of bourgeois-controlled property.
Thepolitical theorists would believe that the proposal defends theprivate freedom of bourgeois-controlled property. The authors wroteagainst the communism objective of abolishing private propertyownership. They viewed the communists as being horrible for havingsuch plans. The authors criticized the selfish proposition of thecommunists about abolition of private property in the sense thattheir society already comprised of ninety percent of the populationbeing non-private property owners (Marx & Friedrich 15).Therefore, proposing the adoption of the communism system by theworld would only favor the communist society. Also, as opposed to theclaims of bourgeois, the authors narrate that communism do not keepcitizens from appropriating the fruits of their labour. It thus,keeps people from subjugating others within their process ofappropriation.
Thecommunists had the desire to abolish the rights of individualacquisition of property through ones hard work. The authors indicatethat communists are insensitive in their desire to abolish thefreedom and rights of acquiring private property through anindividual’s own hard labour. Marx explains that in essence,laborers do not acquire any property as they work. Instead they areexploited by the capital or the property they produce (Marx &Friedrich 15). When controlled by the bourgeoisie, this propertyrepresents social but not personal power. Changing such property intoa common property translates into a social character but not a classcharacter. As such, within the communist society, labor would existonly for the sake of the laborer but not for the sake of producingprivately controlled property.
Marxargues against the Communist proposal to abolish family. His argumentis that family is rooted on private and capital gain. The authorindicates that the Communists plead guilty by wanting to eliminatethe current familial relations in the sense that they want to stopexploitation of the children by their own parents. He also expressedhis concerns on the fact that communism manifesto aimed to freeeducation of the children from the regulation by the political class.He viewed bourgeois plan about family as being disgusting in that theindustry increasingly destroyed the family ties that proletarians had(Marx & Friedrich 22). This rendered education and family asmeans of transforming the children into commerce articles.
Theauthors also criticize the communists for their attempts to abolishnationality and country. Through the reply by the authors, in thecommunist manifesto, the working men would have no country and at thesame time, there would be no national differences. The antagonismswould also lose significance with the increased industrializationthus increased standard of life. It would thus be difficult to assignthe exact level of wealth that a region or a country possess sincethere would be too many variables. The communist revolution presenteda radical rapture in the property relations as was previouslydepicted in traditional setup. It thus formed an overriding historyof class antagonism and exploitation. With all the arguments againstthe communists manifesto, it is clear that the theorists would viewthe allocation of the money as a defense to the private ownership ofbourgeois property.
Thepresentation of Rawls and Friedman’s writings would clearlycriticize the exercise of the proposal. For instance, Rawls assume inhis hypothetical examples that two countries start at same level ofwealth and concludes that it is unacceptable to transfer funds to thepastoral one without justifying the dis-analogy. Nozick support thearguments presented by Rawl and Friedman when considering justicesystems in terms of economic and legal systems. Nozick agrees withRawls’ argument that currently least well-off individuals must havedescended from the previous victims of injustice. Claims of Marx andEngels in the Communist Manifesto would view the proposal as adefense to the private freedom of bourgeois-controlled property. Theyargued against the Communist proposal to abolish family. Thisargument is based on the fact that family is rooted on private andcapital gain.
Friedman,Milton. Capitalism and freedom. University of Chicago press, 2009.
Marx,Karl, and Friedrich Engels. Manifestoof the communist party.CH Kerr, 1906.
Mitchell,Randal W. Nozick`s Political Philosophy. UNIVERSITY OF CENTRALOKLAHOMA, 2013.
Rawls,John. "18. A Theory of Justice." (2016).