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Key Concepts:

Terms in this set (21)

Second principle that permits such inequalities and even suggests that it will be to the advantage of all (similar to the utility principle), but only if they meet two specific conditions. Thus, the principle are not strictly egalitarian, but they are not laissez faire either. Rawls is locating his vision of justice in between these two extremes.

Regulates inequalities: It only permits inequalities that work to the advantage of the worst-off.
This is often misinterpreted as trickle-down economics; Rawls' argument is more accurately expressed as a system where wealth diffuses up. By guaranteeing the worst-off in society a fair deal, Rawls compensates for naturally-occurring inequalities (talents that one is born with, such as a capacity for sport).
Rawls justifies the Difference Principle on the basis that, since Fair Equality of Opportunity lexical priority, the Just Choice from Pareto optimal scenarios which could occur would be that benefitting the worst-off rather than the best-off.

This principle allows practices that result in unequal distribution of social and economic benefits only if such practices benefit those who are least well off relative to the state of the least well off under other systems of practices. While the difference principle allows for inequalities in the distribution of social and economic benefits, it does not allow inequalities that benefit the well to do at the expense of those who are least well off.

The difference principle also requires equality of opportunity.

This principle would be selected in the original position because those who are least advantaged under acceptable practices would still be better off than those least advantaged under other practices (including those that guarantee equality). Those advantaged under acceptable practices are presumed to have no grounds for complaint.