To some degree I still approve of what I said but when I take a closer look, I tend to agree with option E as well which says individually we should strive to eliminate poverty.
Rawls first principle: “each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others”
In many respects we cannot accept the inequalities that still exist in our country equally we cannot paint the wealthy as the bad people as if they are benefitting from the poverty we see. Rawls agues the basic needs for basic liberties which in a way will make it sort of ‘acceptable’ for people like Nicky Oppenheimer to hold the wealth that they have. The SA constitution guarantees many rights to citizens however the government as the enabler is failing in most cases to uphold these rights. The man on the street would not be worried if he knew where he will be sleeping tonight (right to property) or if they could access private hospital services (right to proper health care) or right to education. I refer to the feedback received in assignment 4: That once these basic liberties are in place then let people earn as much as they are capable of earning. However, does this mean the wealthy must address this gap or the government of the day? The wealthy cannot give equal basic rights, fair enough the money can go a long way in fulfilling the needs of the poverty stricken but is it sustainable? I think not. Money cannot solve all the problems in the world.
If you consider that Nicky Oppenheimer had a truly terrific starting block because he was born into a wealthy family whilst other people cannot say the same thing about their upbringing. Then it is safe to say he was afforded the opportunity to succeed and be what he is today. The fair opportunity subject arises from the inequalities that we have experienced in the past be it race, education or basic access to services we ought to have had. I do believe that fair opportunities for all could in many respects minimise the poverty levels that we see today because it gives everyone a shot if you will of creating a better life for themselves. We accept that not all of us will be rich but we cannot accept that majority of us as South Africans are poor. A bit of contradiction – some people are motivated by their background for instance Steven Pienaar the soccer player. I am insinuating that there are two sides to this; if fair opportunity was afforded to all of us, complacency and laziness could have crapped in since the hunger to go for what we desire could have been somewhat compromised because of the comfort we would find ourselves in; and the other side simply put, poverty can be the motivator to better ourselves.
The theory states that this principle allows some degree of inequality to be considered. Well looking at the two facts presented about poverty and wealth I agree with the principle that says the inequality must not be detrimental to the poorest of the poor. The wealthy are already paying higher taxes in SA which one assumes is being used wisely to eradicate poverty.
The veil of ignorance
Interestingly, the one out five South Africans living below the food poverty line would accept this principle because it appears to be fair and impartial and supports the notion of an equal society. Equally it would be not so fair for the wealthy. But we must not forget what this principle says: “you know nothing of yourself and your natural abilities, or your position in society. You know nothing of your sex, race, nationality, or individual tastes”
It will not be so difficult to choose what to do in this instance because both the poor and the wealthy would go for survival and that means sharing the resources equally in the interest of a better society.
It is unfortunate to see such a huge divide between the poor and the rich. You ask yourself a lot of questions in terms of the world we living in. In life generally, you do not choose to be poor, a lot of things play a role, as they say life happens, we are not here to judge. Poverty is not caused by the wealthy, it is caused by, amongst other things, lack of infrastructure, unemployment, inequality and drought.
This kind of setup really sets us up for failure. For instance, the question on if we can ever have an equal society, from a little bit of research I have discovered that there are many types of inequalities in the world, from economic to social inequalities like gender, or tribal affiliations. But no matter the inequality, it generally means the same thing: unequal or no access to the resources needed to keep or lift a family out of poverty. What properties must society exhibit for us to comfortably say that it is indeed an equal society – I believe access to basic needs for all in the country.