The Different Factors Affecting Social Justice

Concerning the concept of social justice, two strategies are always at work. Firstly, social justice could be said broadly as an ideal based on principles of equitable (or just) distribution of material or symbolic resources; income, goods, and services or honor of a company. Any approach to social justice refers to a system of values. It is, essentially, a question of defining what is distributed, how and to whom (Beitone& Hemdone, 2008). A careful reading of this definition shows that it is quite broad and unclear. At best, a tautology: social justice defines what is right! Nothing is said about the “values” that underlie social justice. According to Hachette, reducing inequalities and the broadest access to goods deemed fundamental defines social justice.

Social justice issues frequently occur within groups. These issues are a result of unequally distributed wealth and resources, treating unfairly of individuals with differing traits such as race, sexual orientation, religion, etc., and laws that support segregation. One of the most experienced social injustices is unequal government regulation. This injustice arises due to legislations and regulations that purposefully or otherwise, discriminate groups from the equal and same opportunities and resources based, primarily, on the differences that are unique to that group. A case in point is when huge corporations often surpass government regulations due to loopholes in the regulation system. These organizations encourage boundless consumerism and disregard the environmental and social cost of their production.

It’s hard to see how justice is based on anything other than equal rights, and the definition of commutative justice is, therefore, unsatisfactory. As for the idea of “merit,” it is not sufficient to account for distributive justice: for example, one can speak of merit when the profits of a company are distributed to shareholders in proportion to the number of shares they hold. This, however, is indisputably a manifestation of distributive justice.

Corrective justice is that which consists (for a community or an authority) of modifying, in a sense consistent with a principle of justice, the distribution of income, patrimony and social positions, as it results from the functioning of the society. For example, the distribution of income in a market economy depends (among other things) on the initial endowment in factors of production. If the market is perfectly competitive, distributive justice is assured, but “proportional equality” is attained, and can be judged unsatisfactory by the community (through political choices). For example, the initial endowment of inputs (inheritance tax, access to human capital, etc.) can be changed or redistributed to reduce inequality (income or wealth tax and Social Security benefits). For this reason, Aristotle introduced, alongside corrective justice, which makes arithmetic equality prevail in exchanges and contracts, distributive justice. The proportional equality which must govern the distribution of honors, wealth and other advantages.

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