You are on page 1of 33

1

Chapter 1
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study

From the past struggles of human beings against abuse and


discrimination, human rights as a concept was advocated. The
belief

that

entitled

to

everyone,
certain

by

virtue

human

rights

of
is

her

or

fairly

his

humanity,

new. 1

Its

is

roots,

however, lie in earlier tradition and documents of many cultures;


it took the catalyst of World War II to propel human rights onto
the global stage and into the global conscience.2
Throughout

much

of

history,

people

acquired

rights

and

responsibilities through their membership in a group a family,


indigenous nation, religion, class, community, or state. In fact,
all societies, whether in oral or written tradition, have had
systems of propriety and justice as well as ways of tending to
the health and welfare of their members.3 However, the concept of
the human rights had only been discussed after it emerged as a
response to the felt need to curtail abuses against man.

2010
2
3

Samuel Moyn, The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History. Harvard University Press,
http://www.humanrights.com/what-are-human-rights/brief-history/magna-carta.html
Op. Cit. Samuel Mown

Today, human rights philosophy is advocated throughout the


world. In fact, there is the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner

for

Human

Rights

(OHCHR)

which

represents

the

world's commitment to universal ideals of human dignity. 4 It has


a unique mandate from the international community to promote and
protect all human rights.
The

philosophy

of

human

rights

attempts

to

examine

the

underlying basis of the concept of human rights and critically


looks

at

its

content

and

justification.

Several

theoretical

approaches have been advanced to explain how and why the concept
of human rights developed. One of which is the Theory based on
justice, the subject matter of this research paper.
The researcher is tasked in this study to discuss the Theory
of

based

succeeding

on

justice

pages

of

and
this

its

relation

paper

will

to

human

discuss

in

rights.

The

detail

the

connotations of the concept of human rights and how it is


related to Theory Based on justice.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/WhoWeAre.aspx

Statement of the Problem

This study specifically aims to discuss the Theory based on


justices approach to human rights philosophy.

Specifically, this seeks to answer the following questions:


1. What is Human Rights?
2. What is Theory Based on Justice?
3. Why is the Theory Based on Justice regarded as one of
the fundamental theories and sources of Human Rights?
4. What is the importance of the Theory Based on Justice
in modern society?
5. How can the Theory Based on Justice be applied in the
Philippines?

Objectives of the Study

This study aims to discuss the Theory based on justices


approach to human rights philosophy.

Specifically, this aims to attain the following objectives:


1. To determine the meaning of human rights.
2. To know the meaning of theory based on justice.
3. To

determine

Justice

is

the

reason

regarded

as

why
one

the
of

Theory
the

Based

on

fundamental

theories and sources of Human Rights.


4. To understand the importance of the Theory of Based
on Justice in modern society.
5. To determine the application of the Theory based on
justice in the Philippines

Significance of the Study

This study will be significant to the following:

ACADEME. This will significantly contribute to this sector


since findings of this study can be used as a ready reference on
topics dealing on human rights and its violations. This will also
inform the readers on the possible relationships that exists
between human rights and Theory based on Justice;

READERS/RESEARCHERS.

Findings

of

this

study

will

be

beneficial to this sector as this can be used as bases of their


researches. Besides, other topics on this study can also be the
subject of this research works.

LAW STUDENTS. Findings of this study can serve as an on hand


reference to law students in their law education.

COMMUNITY. Proceeds of this study will be beneficial to the


community, since the results there under might inform them their
basic human rights

Definition of Terms

The

following

terms

are

defined

both

conceptually

and

operationally to further grasps the meaning of this endeavor.

HUMAN RIGHTS. Human rights are rights inherent to all human


beings,

whatever

our

nationality,

place

of

residence,

sex,

national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any


other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights
without

discrimination.

These

rights

are

all

interrelated,

interdependent and indivisible.5

SOCIAL CONTRACT. The agreement among individuals by which


society becomes organized and invested with the right to secure
mutual protection and welfare.6

EGALITARIAN. Of, relating to, or upholding the doctrine of


the

equality

of

mankind

and

the

desirability

of

political,

social, and economic equality.7

Loc. Cit. OHCHR


Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd.
Copyright 2005, by Random House, Inc
7
Collins English Dictionary Complete and Unabridged HarperCollins Publishers,
2003
6

UTILITARIAN. A person who believes the doctrine that the


morally correct course of action consists in the greatest good
for the greatest number, that is, in maximizing the total benefit
resulting, without regard to the distribution of benefits and
burdens.8

ECONOMIC INEQUALITY. The unequal distribution of household


or

individual

income

across

the

various

participants

in

an

economy. Income inequality is often presented as the percentage


of income to a percentage of population.9

CAPITALIST SYSTEM. An economic system in which the means of


production and distribution are privately or corporately owned
and development occurs through the accumulation and reinvestment
of profits gained in a free market.10

STATE OF NATURE. A concept used by social contract theory to


illustrate

the

primordial

natural

condition

of

human

society

before the existence of a government.11


8

Ibid.
Income Inequality Definition | Investopedia
http://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/income-inequality.asp#ixzz3pUH1ngxE
10
American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright
2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
11
Bryan Nelson, Western Political Thought: From Socrates to the Age of Ideology,
Waveland Press, 1996
9

VEIL OF IGNORANCE. A device designed by John Rawls in order


to

minimize

the

influence

of

selfish

bias

in

attempting

to

determine what would be just.12

12

John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, p. 3-6 , the Belknap Press of Harvard university press,
Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1971

Chapter II
DISCUSSION

HUMAN RIGHTS

Human

rights

are

moral

principles

that

set

out

certain

standards of human behavior, and are regularly protected as legal


rights in national and international law. They are "commonly
understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is
inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being."13
Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian. The
doctrine

of

human

rights

has

been

highly

influential

within

international law, global and regional institutions. Policies of


states and in the activities of non-governmental organizations
and have become a cornerstone of public policy around the world.
The idea of human rights suggests, "if the public discourse of
peacetime global society can be said to have a common moral
language, it is that of human rights." The strong claims made by
the doctrine of human rights continue to provoke considerable
skepticism

and

debates

about

the

content,

nature

and

justifications of human rights to this day. Indeed, the question

13

Loc. cit. OHCHR

10

of what is meant by a "right" is itself controversial and the


subject of continued philosophical debate.
Rights

may

be

seen

as

emanating

from

various

sources,

whether religion or the nature of man or the nature of society.


Modern rights theories cover a wide range of approaches, and this
clearly

emphasizes

the

need

to

come

to

terms

with

the

requirements of an evolving legal system that cannot be totally


comprehended in terms of that system itself.

14

During the nineteenth century, states around the world have


acknowledged the importance of global interdependence.15 A number
of theories were entered related to piracy jure gentium to stop
it and slavery - to bring about its abolition. Concern also with
the treatment of sick and wounded soldiers and with prisoners of
war developed in terms of international instrument while states
were

required

to

observe

certain

minimum

standards

in

the

treatment of aliens. In addition, certain agreements of a general


welfare nature were beginning to be adopted by the turn of the
century. The nineteenth century also appeared to accept a right
of humanitarian intervention, although its range and extent were
unclear.16

14

Malcom C. Shaw, INTERNATIONAL LAW FIFTH EDITION, p. 247 Cambridge University


Press, The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge, 2003
15
Kenneth N. Waltz, Theory of International Politics ,McGraw-Hill Higher Education,1979
16
Loc. Cit. Shaw

11

This dynamic process of concretization of basic principles


has been accompanied, particularly after the Second World War, by
impressive achievements in the field of the codification and
progressive development of international law. From its previous
state of amorphousness and imprecision, the law of nations has
grown into a highly organized system of rules.17

THEORY BASED ON JUSTICE

Rawls burst into prominence in 1958 with the publication of


his game-changing paper, Justice as Fairness, and the revival
of social contract theory.

This led to a greatly developed book

version, A Theory of Justice, published in 1971, arguably the


most

important

book

of

American

second half of the last century.


theory,

which

he

calls

justice

philosophy

published

in

the

Rawls makes it clear that his


as

fairness,

assumes

an

egalitarian, morally autonomous, rational agents, who are not


necessarily egoists.

He also makes it clear early on that he

means to present his theory as a preferable alternative to that


of utilitarians.18

17
18

INTERNATIONAL LAW AS A LANGUAGE FORINTERNATIONAL RELATIONS


Op. Cit. Rawls, pp. 12-26

12

He asks us to imagine persons in a hypothetical initial


situation, a term corresponding to the state of nature coined
by social contractualist, which he calls the original position
This is strikingly characterized by what Rawls calls the veil of
ignorance. To illustrate it, if you must decide on what sort of
society you could commit yourself to accepting as a permanent
member and were not allowed to factor in specific knowledge about
yourselfsuch as your gender, race, ethnic identity, level of
intelligence, physical strength, quickness and stamina, and so
forththen you would presumably exercise the rational choice to
make the society as fair for everyone as possible, lest you find
yourself at the bottom of that society for the rest of your life.
In such a purely hypothetical situation, Rawls believes that we
would rationally adopt two basic principles of justice for our
society: the first requires equality in the assignment of basic
rights

and

duties,

while

the

second

holds

that

social

and

economic inequalities.19
In terms of its epistemological status, Rawls says that the
original position is hypothetical in nature. Rawls argues that
these principles are in fact what the parties would agree upon if
they

were

in

that

hypothetical

situation

of

the

original

position. Rawls explains this by calling upon us to imagine a


19

Ibid.

13

state of nature where we are blind as to our status or position


in society. This includes, for all members of society, not
knowing where one would end up or which fortunes one gets in the
natural lottery. Under this veil of ignorance, the position of
equality is guaranteed. It ensures that those who might be able
to influence the process in their favor, due to their better
position

in

importantly,

society,
that

are

justice

unable
is

to

about

do

so.

This

protecting

means,

the

weak

more
and

innocent against the abuses of the strong and binding the


powerful to the full moral force of the law.
Here we see Rawls conceiving of justice, the primary social
virtue, as requiring equal basic liberties for all citizens and a
presumption of equality even regarding socio-economic goods.

He

emphasizes the point that these principles rule out as unjust the
utilitarian justification of disadvantages for some on account of
greater advantages for others, since that would be rationally
unacceptable to one operating under the veil of ignorance. Rawls
is opposed to the teleological or consequentialist gambit of
defining the right in terms of maximizing the good; he rather
is committed to a priority of the right over the good.
is not reducible to utility or pragmatic desirability.
notice

that

the

first

principle

of

justice,

which

Justice
We should
requires

maximum equality of rights and duties for all members of society,

14

is

prior

in

serial

or

lexical

order

to

the

second,

which

specifies how socio-economic inequalities can be justified.20


Again, this is anti-utilitarian, in that no increase in
socio-economic benefits for anyone can ever justify anything less
than maximum equality of rights and duties for all.

Thus, for

example, if enslaving a few members of society generated vastly


more benefits for the majority than liabilities for them, such a
bargain would be categorically ruled out as unjust.

THEORY BASED ON JUSTICE:


A FUNDAMENTAL THEORY OF HUMAN RIGHTS

Rawls in articulation of these two principles of justice,


illustrates

his

theorys

protection of human rights.

relation

with

the

international

He reformulates the first one in

terms of maximum equal liberty, writing that each person is to


have

an

compatible

equal
with

right
a

to

similar

the

most

liberty

extensive
for

basic

others.

liberty

The

basic

liberties intended concern such civil rights as are protected in


our constitution free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of
conscience, the right to private property, the rights to vote and

20

Ibid.

15

hold public office, freedom from arbitrary arrest and seizure,


etc.21
In this sense, he embody a belief that no government has the
power to curtail ones basic right. However, there a lexical
priority of this which requires that it be categorical in that
the only justification for limiting any basic liberties would be
to enhance other basic liberties; for example, it might be just
to

limit

free

access

of

the

press

to

sensational

legal

proceeding in order to protect the right of the accused to a fair


trial.
Rawls restates his second principle to maintain that social
and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are
both (a) reasonably expected to be to everyones advantage, and
(b) attached to positions and offices open to all.
economic

inequalities

can

be

justified,

but

Thus socio-

only

if

both

conditions are met.22


The
seriously

first
the

condition,
idea

that

the

difference

every

principle,

socio-economic

takes

difference

separating one member of society from others must be beneficial


to all, including the person ranked lowest.

The second condition

is one of fair equality of opportunity, in that socio-economic


advantages must be connected to positions to which all members of
21
22

Ibid. pp. 60-65


Ibid. pp. 75, 83

16

society could have access.23

An example to this second principle

is that the office of the presidency has attached to it greater


social prestige and income than is available to most of us but it
can be just only if assuming that all of us, as citizens, could
achieve that office with its compensations and that even those of
us at or near the bottom of the socio-economic scale benefit from
intelligent,

talented

people

accepting

the

awesome

responsibilities of that office.


Just as the first principle must be lexically prior to the
second, Rawls also maintains that fair opportunity is prior to
the difference principle.

Thus, if we have to choose between

equal opportunity for all and socio-economically benefiting the


least advantaged members of society, the former has priority
over the latter.

Most of us today might be readily sympathetic

to the first principle and the equal opportunity condition, while


finding the difference principle to be objectionably egalitarian,
to the point of threatening incentives to contribute more than is
required.

Rawls does consider a mixed conception of justice

that most of us would regard as more attractive arising when the


principle of average utility constrained by a certain social
minimum is substituted for the difference principle, everything
else remaining unchanged.

23

Ibid. pp. 302-303

But there would be a problem of

17

fairly agreeing on that acceptable social minimum, and it would


change with shifting contingent circumstances.

24

In relation to the above, justice as fairness makes it a


moral imperative that the moral value of individual freedom far
outweighs

the

general

welfare

for

if

one

person

is

to

be

sacrificed for the good of all then that would be a violation of


the basic principle of justice as fairness. This is because,
according

to

Rawls,

each

person,

from

the

point

of

view

of

liberal justice, possesses an inviolable value that not even the


welfare of society can override.[7] In classical utilitarianism,
as we have said at the outset, the good consists in maximizing
overall

welfare,

even

if

that

sacrifices

someone.

For

utilitarianism, general welfare is prioritized over the basic


liberty

of

each.

This

basically

violates

the

persons

basic

autonomy the persons very essence for he or she is reduced


to a mere means to an end in order for the majority to achieve
whatever they so desire.
The

basic

opportunity

for

point
all,

is

that

people

can

in

this

pursue

condition
their

of

equal

life-plans

and

profit from the same, but they must contribute through taxes to
serve the worst off or the disadvantaged, an adjustment meant to
ensure that the worst off can have the opportunity to improve
their lives. This is what the famous difference principle calls
24

Ibid. p.316

18

for. Fairness in the liberal sense therefore means that justice


is served when we treat people as equals, not by removing all
inequalities, but only those which disadvantage the worst off.

IMPORTANCE OF THE THEORY BASED ON JUSTICE


IN MODERN SOCIETY

Addressing Domestic and Political Issues in Society


For Rawls in addressing this kind of issues the government
must always aim that the steps and measure they make must always
be for the equal opportunity for all and for socio-economically
benefiting the least advantaged. He also suggests that if the
severity

of

the

injustice

is

not

great,

then

respect

for

democratic majority rule might morally dictate compliance.


However, if appeals to the political majority have been
reasonably

tried

and

failed

and

their

measures

have

caused

injustice to some, then Rawls believes that it is reasonable that


civil

disobedience

be

used

in

addressing

the

domestic

and

political issues since no society is perfectly just.25


A generally or nearly just society can have unjust laws,
in which case its citizens may or may not have a duty to comply

25

Ibid. pp. 350-351

19

with them, depending on how severely unjust they are.


citizens

can

disobedience,

feel

moral

which

Rawls

obligation

defines

as

to

Otherwise,

engage

public,

in

civil

nonviolent,

conscientious yet political act contrary to law usually done with


the aim of bringing about a change in the law or policies of the
government.

Certain conditions must be met in order that an act

of civil disobedience be justified:


address

violations

equality

of

of

equal

opportunity,

civil

with

(1) it should normally


liberties

violations

and/or

of

the

of

fair

difference

principle being murkier and, thus, harder to justify; (2) the act
of civil disobedience should come only after appeals to the
political majority have been reasonably tried and failed; (3) it
must seem likely to accomplish more good than harm for the social
order.

26

Yet, even if all three of these conditions seem to be met


and

the

disobedient

action

seems

right,

there

remains

the

practical question of whether it would be wise or prudent,


under

the

circumstances,

disobedience.
himself

or

Ultimately,
herself

to

engage

every

whether

in

the

individual

such

action

act

must
is

of

civil

decide
morally

for
and

prudentially justifiable or not as reasonably and responsibly as


possible.

The acts of civil disobedience of Martin Luther King

(to whom Rawls refers in a footnote) seem to have met all the
26

Ibid. pp. 352- 367

20

conditions, to have been done in the name of justice, and to have


been morally justified.27

Pluralism of Ideas
A just society must protect basic liberties equally for all
of its members, including freedom of thought and its necessary
condition, freedom of expression.

But, in a free society that

protects these basic liberties, a pluralism of views and values


is likely to develop, such that people can seriously disagree
about

matters

they

hold

dear.

They

will

develop

their

own

comprehensive doctrines, or systems of beliefs that may govern


all significant aspects of their lives.
or

philosophical

or

moral.

Yet

These may be religious


variety

of

potentially

conflicting comprehensive doctrines may be such that all are


reasonable.

In such a case, social unity requires respect for

and tolerance of other sets of beliefs.


deliberately

to

suppress

reasonable

It would be unjust

comprehensive

doctrines

merely because they are different from our own.


The problem of political liberalism nowadays is how we can
establish

citizens

are

stable

and

deeply

just

society

divided

by

whose

free

conflicting

and

equal

and

even

incommensurable religious, philosophical, and moral doctrines.


27

Ibid. pp. 372-376, 389-390

21

What is needed is a shared political conception of justice that


is neutral regarding competing comprehensive doctrines.
could

allow

for

an

overlapping

consensus

of

This

reasonable

comprehensive doctrines, such that tolerance and mutual respect


are operative even among those committed to incompatible views
and values, so long as they are reasonable. In short, the society
must

develop

workable

overlapping

consensus

despite

the

challenges to social union posed by a pluralism of reasonable


comprehensive doctrines.28

The International Sphere


Given that not all societies act justly and that societies
have a right to defend themselves against aggressive violent
force, there can be a right to go to war (jus ad bellum).

Yet

even then, not all is fair in war, and rules of just warfare (jus
in bello) should be observed:

(1) the goal must be a just and

lasting peace; (2) it must be waged in defense of freedom and


security from aggression; (3) reasonable attempts must be made
not to attack innocent non-combatants; (4) the human rights of
enemies (for example, against being tortured) must be respected;
(5) attempts should be made to establish peaceful relations; and
(6) practical tactics must always remain within the parameters of
28

John Rawls, Political Liberalism pp. 291-292, 340-342, 145, xviii, 13, 152n., 59-60,
133, 154-155, 144, 134, Columbia University Press, 1993

22

moral principles.

After hostilities have ceased, just conquerors

must treat their conquered former enemies with respectnot, for


example, enslaving them or denying them civil liberties.

29

Also by applying the theory based on justices egalitarian


principle

of

distributive

justice.

It

will

address

socio-

economic equalities that are to the detriment of the worlds


worst-off persons.

Thomas Pogge, a German Philosopher, proposes

a global resources tax, or GRT.


of

the

peoples

of

our

planet

This means that, although each


owns

and

fully

controls

all

resources within its national territory, it will be taxed on all


of

the

resources

it

extracts.

If

it

uses

resources itself, it must pay the tax itself.

those

extracted

If it sells some

to other societies, presumably at least part of the tax burden


will be borne by buyers in the form of higher sales prices.

The

GRT is then a tax on consumption of our planets resources.30


As a result, corporations extracting resources would pay
their

taxes

to

their

governments

which,

in

turn,

would

be

responsible for transferring funds to disadvantaged societies to


help the global poor.

Such payments should be regarded as a

matter of entitlement rather than charity, an obligation of


international justice.

29

If the governments of the poorer states

John Rawls, Law on People pp, 94-96, 98-99, 37, 106, 114-117, Harvard University
Press, 2001
30
Thomas Pogge, An Egalitarian Law on Peoples, pp. 195-196, Blackwell Publishing
1994

23

were honest, they could disburse the funds; if they were corrupt,
then transfers could go through United Nations agencies and/or
nongovernmental

organizations.

At

any

rate,

they

should

be

channeled toward societies in which they could improve the lot of


the poor and disadvantaged.

31

But, one might wonder, would well-off societies only be


motivated to pay their fair share by benevolence, a sense of
justice, and possible shame at being exposed for not doing so?
No, there could be international sanctions:

Once the agency

facilitating the flow of GRT payments reports that a country has


not met its obligations under the scheme, all other countries are
required to impose duties on imports from, and perhaps also
similar

levies

equivalent

to

on
its

exports
GRT

enforcement measures.

to,

this

obligations

country
plus

to

the

raise

cost

of

funds
these

Pogge believes that well-off societies

should recognize that his more egalitarian model of international


relations is also more just than Rawlss law of peoples.32

ITS APPLICATION IN THE PHILIPPINES

Rawls
particularly
31
32

considers
worried

Ibid. pp 119-202,205,
Ibid. pp 219-204

his
by

theory
the

as

unreality

"ideal",
of

his

and

is

not

assumptions.

24

However, at some point he will want to justify the usefulness of


ideal theory in generating conclusions which are applicable to
experience. Perhaps enough has been said about the unreality of
the

assumptions

built

into

the

description

of

the

original

position to raise doubts about the possible relevance to reality


of the outcome of the theory. Each assumption taken individually
is plausible. But cumulatively, the whole set of qualifications
generates a model which is so divorced from reality that it loses
all power to tell us anything about justice in the world of our
experience. A summary, based on the Philippine society, of those
assumptions would help:
1. The principles are to be chosen for a normal situation of
non-starvation, in which the contractors know that the
achievement of liberty is possible. But we ask what is
required in justice in a world and a country like the
Philippines where millions are actually starving, and
are actually locked in a poverty trap.
2. The principles are to be chosen for a "well-ordered
society."

But

the

problem

of

justice

in

many

places

today like the Philippines is how to establish order in


societies which are riven by conflicts.
3. The choosers are non-envious. But we are concerned about
justice in a world and in countries like the Philippines

25

in which people are very conscious of the differences in


wealth, advantage and power.
4. The choosers know general facts. But we seek justice in a
Third World country in which access to knowledge is not
universal,

and

in

which

the

content

of

knowledge

is

ideologically significant.
5.

The

choosers

themselves.

are

But

ignorant

that

of

imagined

relevant
degree

details

of

about

ignorance

is

nonhuman. In addition, with the emergence of the social


media, Filipinos are becoming self-conscious on what is
popular or trendy.
6. The contractors do not know their life-plans, but they do
know how to realize them. In fact, the model reverses
our

usual

experience.

Usually,

people

know

what

they

want, but don't know how to get it. In Rawls's theory,


the choosers don't know what they want, but they do know
how to get it.
Another

problem

of

that

theory,

as

Robert

Paul

Wolff

suggest, is that it treats the problem of justice as one of pure


distribution. How wealth has been produced is not considered
relevant to deciding how it is to be distributed. So there would
be no difference between distributing a cake which has appeared
from nowhere, and dividing up a cake which one of the group has

26

baked. This neglect blinds Rawls to the existence of powerful


groups, as for example those who control some means of production
and can hold out for a greater share in the distribution, or
those who control some aspect of distribution like social welfare
officials. The reality of power as we encounter it ought to make
its impact on a theory of justice. The neglect of this reality
undermines

any

relevance

concern for justice.

33

Rawls's

theory

might

have

for

our

Like in Philippines, whereby oligarchs

have full control of the economic and political sphere of the


whole

nation,

what

is

happening

is

the

difference

of

the

difference principle. Rather than removing the disadvantage to


the

worst-off,

oligarchs

are

the

the

scenario

one

who

in

create

our

country

such

is

that

these

disadvantages.

These

oligarchs would not want to be tax in order for the tax to be


given to the worst-off.
Another problem is that fairness is discussed generally
in terms of equality of opportunity, which suggests that a bigger
income is deserved as long as there has been fair competition.
But such notion of fair competition can put those who do not
possess high intelligence or skill at a disadvantage. The concept
of fair competition is deceptive because others have natural
talents they do not deserve to possess if we put premium in the
moral equality of persons. The central argument of Rawls then is
33

John Paul Wolff, Understanding John Rawls: A Reconstruction and Critique of A Theory
Based on Justice, Princeton University Press, 1977

27

that all social arrangements, to be fair, should ultimately favor


the worst off, whose disadvantage, say in their social position
or natural talent is something they dont deserve.
It can also be argued that the distribution of resources in
terms of income only touches the superficial symptoms of poverty
but does not address the differences and heterogeneities between
two people. For instance, person A and B can have the same amount
of income. But if person A is a person with a physical handicap,
there is no real equality though they have the same amount of
income. The difference principle is good, but not good enough.
[13] The income approach only addresses the poverty of income but
not

the

poverty

of

human

life.

Unjust

social

arrangements

diminish the capabilities of people, and as such, re-arranging


the

mode

of

social

cooperation

therefore

entails

looking

at

holistic approaches to development. For instance, if we consider


those with natural disabilities, it is not income that they need
but a sense of human well-being beyond what economic provisions
provide.
Another problem with this theory is that John Rawls, unlike
other

egalitarian

advocate,

failed

to

suggest

measures

to

initiate such ideal state. In order for our country to become


egalitarian, an action less than a revolution would not suffice.

28

In general, rather than creating an idealistic world, the


Philippines, in general would be solving its problem by accepting
realities

and

by

overcoming

real

problems

economic, social and political development.

that

hinder

our

29

Chapter 3
CONCLUSION

Following a brief presentation of the essentials of Rawls's


theory of justice the researcher concluded that:
In general, the Theory Based on Justice is an outstanding
political theory. However, such theory is hard to materialize and
apply in a todays society.
However, the problems lie with its application since we all
know that the oligarchs controlling the global economy would not
want

redistributive

taxation

to

the

poor,

and

they

would

commonly object that such taxation involves the immoral taking of


their just holdings.
With regard to its application on human rights, it is an
outstanding theory since its main discussion is the protection of
the basic rights and given the people equal opportunity to all.
His take on individual human rights is worth appraising.
He

develop

such

measures

to

ensure

that

the

political

majority would not try to create measures that would endanger the
worst off. He believe that civil disobedience is a tool of a
just society in order to combat such measures.

30

The theory, however, has little to teach us about justice


which might help us to cope with the pressing problems of justice
in the Philippines. What the Philippines need is not to create an
ideal form of State in order for it to solve problems but to
accept the real problems that hinder our daily life and solve
each problem one at a time.

31

BIBLIOGRAPHY

BOOKS
Nelson, Bryan. Western Political Thought: From Socrates to the
Age of Ideology. Waveland Press. 1996
Rawls,

John.

Theory

of

Justice.

Belknap

Press

of

Harvard

University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1971


Rawls, John. Law on People. Belknap Press of Harvard University
Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2001
Rawls, John.

Political Liberalism.

Columbia University Press,

1993
Waltz, Kenneth N.

Theory of International Politics. McGraw-Hill

Higher Education.1979
Shaw, Malcom C. International Law, 5th ed. Cambridge University
Press, The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge, 2003

JOURNALS
Pogge, Thomas. An Egalitarian Law on Peoples, Blackwell
Publishing. 1994

32

Wolff, John Paul. Understanding John Rawls: A Reconstruction and


Critique of A Theory Based on Justice. Princeton
University Press. 1977
DICTIONARY
American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth
Edition. Copyright 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publishing Company
Collins English Dictionary Complete and Unabridged
HarperCollins Publishers, 2003
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, 2010 K
Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, by Random House, Inc

INTERNET SOURCES
http://www.humanrights.com/what-are-human-rights/briefhistory/magna-carta.html
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/WhoWeAre.aspx
Income Inequality Definition | Investopedia
http://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/incomeinequality.asp#ixzz3pUH1ngxE

33