Realizing Rawls by Thomas W. Pogge

By Thomas W. Pogge

Ebook by means of Pogge, Thomas W.

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BasT sSictu^s(irTmvtiH ^ Nevertheless, some intercourse is cleany n T - S t e a ° ^ ' I n ­ ared i n s t l , u t I o n s w justice c o u l d be a s s e s s e d ( p a r a d i g m a t i c X T h V ^ t t ? 5 25 w i t h i n t h e s a m e a r e n a of possibilities, offering c o m p e t i n g a p p r o a c h e s t o t h e s a m e subject, t h e justice of i n s t i t u t i o n a l s c h e m e s . 5. O n c e t h i s focus o n a social s y s t e m ' s b a s i c s t r u c t u r e h a s b e e n fully u n d e r s t o o d , it h a s a s t r o n g claim to p r i m a c y w i t h i n m o r a l reflec­ t i o n q u i t e a p a r t from w h e t h e r o n e believes in social c o n t r a c t s o r free a n d e q u a l m o r a l p e r s o n h o o d .

T h e r e is to b e n o i n s t i t u t i o n of slavery; p e r s o n s c a n n o t alienate themselves or c o m e to b e o w n e d in a n y w a y . All l a n d is subject to a p p r o p r i a t i o n by t h e first comer, w h o t h e r e b y g a i n s full, exclusionary control over it. As o w n e r , h e is free to r e l i n q u i s h o w n e r ­ s h i p over (a portion) of his l a n d at a n y time ( t h r o u g h e x c h a n g e , gift, o r bequest), b u t h e controls t h e a s s i g n m e n t of only 80 p e r c e n t of t h e l a n d h e relinquishes.

W h a t , t h e n , is t h e basic structure of a self-sufficient social s y s t e m ? Rawls leaves t h i s n o t i o n n o t m e r e l y v a g u e b u t also a m b i g u o u s . Let m e e x p l a i n b y e l a b o r a t i n g o n e of its t w o s e n s e s in Rawls, h o w I u n d e r s t a n d t h e t e r m basic structure. I will t h e n d e f e n d m y c h o i c e b y c o n t r a s t i n g it to t h e o t h e r s e n s e in w h i c h Rawls u s e s t h e t e r m . In A Theory of Justice t h e b a s i c s t r u c t u r e of a social s y s t e m is d e n n e d a s "the w a y in w h i c h t h e m a j o r social i n s t i t u t i o n s d i s t r i b u t e f u n d a m e n ­ tal r i g h t s a n d d u t i e s a n d d e t e r m i n e t h e division of a d v a n t a g e s from social c o o p e r a t i o n " (TJ 7).

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