Equality and Justice – Part 3

Originally written in November 2012

Read Part 1 and Part 2

In part 2, we concluded that the society has to create incentives for the strong to not attack the weak while (in the state of nature) they can, and that incentivised state would be the state of justice in the society.

It means that in the hypothetical simple society comprising of two persons, one physically weak and the other physically strong, justice would be where the physically strong person enjoys overall more benefits than the physically weak person. The silent benefit to the weak person being that he would not be attacked by the strong person.

The additional benefits given to the strong over and above those to the weak would be an incentive for the strong to not attack the weak. What reason, otherwise, would the strong have to not attack the weak?

To summarize the point: The one who is favored by nature, and thus would prevail over others in the state of nature, will continue to enjoy higher benefits (in the form of incentives not to attack the other while he can) in the just society.

Note that this conclusion is arrived at from a hypothetical simple two-person society. By adding complex variables the end result might (and will) change but the equation will essentially hold.

For example, according to the above rule, the criminal who is physically more powerful should be enjoying more benefits if the society is just than the common man who is physically weak. But instead in the society we actually have criminals in the jail and that’s perfectly just. Common people certainly enjoy (and should enjoy) more benefits than the criminal. One would of course say, screw the rule which says the criminal should be enjoying more benefits.

Now look closer. Is the rule really breaking? No, because ours is not a simple two-person society. Even though the criminal maybe physically strong, he is in minority. Would he have prevailed had our world been the state of nature? No, because his strength is way less than the collective strength of those he would have to fight.

The rule says that he who is favored by nature such that he would prevail over the other in the state of nature would enjoy higher benefits in the just society. The criminal being in the minority isn’t really favored by nature in a broad view.

Thus, the original simple-world conclusion holds perfectly if we properly account for complexities of our times.

Let’s make it into a maxim: He who is favored by nature would enjoy higher benefits in the just society.

After accounting for numerous layers of complexities between the above hypothetical two-person society and the actual present-day society, one should be able to see that it is following this rule of justice that the governments have policies of redistribution of income. If a large section of the society is making less money (is poor) and enjoys less well-being then what would keep them from creating chaos in the society by attacking the rich? Hence, we tax the rich and give benefits as social security, public distribution of food, health benefits, other numerous subsidies and suchlike (mostly) to the poor out of those taxes.

Discounting all complexities, in the simple two-person society this would mean that if one person is rich and the other is poor, and if the poor is physically strong enough to make the rich person’s life difficult by attacking him for his wealth then the rich person will have to share his wealth with the physically strong poor person in order to live peacefully.

Therefore, in the hypothetical simple two-person society, the physically strong poor person enjoys higher overall benefit than the physically weak rich, because he would get equal share of wealth as the other without having the brains to create wealth, simply for he is favored by nature in physical strength.

The state of justice in the actual current society would be based on the same basic equation as the above.

Argument of morality

Some people would say that even if one is favored by nature and would prevail over the other in the state of nature they should not do that. Since we are not merely animals living in the state of nature but civilized humans the ones favored by nature should not require incentives to keep them from attacking the weak – because it is simply not moral to do so.

Does this argument hold water? To understand that we will have to understand what morality is. Where morality originates from and what it purports.

To be continued…

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