What answer would each theory of Justice give to the following questions (we have studied three):

  1. Is it right for the government give a huge bail out to banks to keep them in business?
  2. Can it ever be unjust to accumulate wealth?

First off, I would like to give a brief breakdown of each theory of justice. Utilitarianism is based on the simple notion that producing the greatest amount of happiness for the largest number of people would be most beneficial for everyone. Libertarianism is ran on a different principle of minimal government intervention in all aspects and no regulations. The last theory is Rawls’s Theory of Justice. This theory is based on two principles of liberty.

Under Utilitarianism, a bailout would be considered beneficial to everyone since it keeps the bank open and available for the public. The accumulation of wealth would be deemed unjust because it ties up money from circulating through the market and it promotes income inequality. A Libertarianism view would be quite the opposite. No regulation on wealth accrual and no bailouts to banks. Rawls’s theory is not as easy to pinpoint. Under the first principle of justice, accumulation of wealth would be acceptable as it is that person’s freedom to do so. By the second principle of justice, a bailout may be allowed since it could be beneficial to the least-advantaged.

This is a well put together video by PragerU on a quick history of bailouts and if governments should do them.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/GT1WqIkg9es” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

PragerU also does another great video on income inequality by showing some of the benefits the rich give to society in a free market.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/1e35Vf-9n8E” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

3 Comments for “M3 (GREGORY)”

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Thanks for the summary, it was helpful to me in understanding the different theories of justice.

The video “Should the Government Bail out the Big Banks?” was also very helpful in explaining what happened, why it happened, and what could be done to prevent a financial crisis like in 2008, from happening again.

Great post!

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Hello Stephen, The videos you posted did a good job at illustrating the topics of utilitarianism and liberalism, after reading through the material in the text book the first video on bailing out banks made a differentiation between the two different ideals very simple and easy to distinguish. As you mentioned Rawls theory is hard to pinpoint by mentioning that under the first principle of justice, accumulation of wealth would be acceptable because a person has that freedom. I thought Rawls theory was little odd because is seemed to jump sides and had a very particular set of circumstances. For example the first principle of just would agree with the accumulation of wealth, however, this is only true as long as it’s consistent with other people enjoying the same liberties. The specifics of his theory leave for little wiggle room it seems like. All in all good post.

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Nice summary. Good points. I had some problems with loading the videos. Were they properly hyperlinked?

Otherwise, although Rawl’s Theory may have jumped sides, the theory holds that accumulation of wealth beyond a certain point is unfair. In the efforts to accumulate wealth, the high-class people tend to exploit the poor population in the society. Hence violating Rawls’s principle whereby each is expected to have equal rights. Rawls’s elaborates this explanation in the law of veil of ignorance by stipulating there is need to avoid conditions leading to self-interest.