A good value

In his influential Theory of Justice John Rawls speaks of a "difference principle," a way of legitimizing social differences. He imagines people in "an original position" in which they do not know their ultimate social positions. Precisely because they do not know what their own social place is likely to be, their self-interest would encourage them to adopt fair social and political principles—principles of equal liberty and equal opportunity. They would allow for differences—inequalities of possessions and opportunities—only to the degree that these differences would allow a typical person in the worst-off group to prosper.

 

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