The past thirty years have taken us a great distance away from the social ideal represented by Rawls’s Theory of Justice. The acceleration of inequalities of income and wealth in the US economy is flatly unjust, by Rawls’s standards. The increasing — and now by Supreme Court decision, almost unconstrained — ability of corporations to exert influence within political affairs has severely undermined the fundamental political equality of all citizens. And the extreme forms of inequality of opportunity and outcome that exist in our society — and the widening of these gaps in recent decades — violate the basic principles of justice, requiring the full and fair equality of political lives of all citizens. This suggests that Rawls’s theory provides the basis for a very sweeping critique of existing economic and political institutions. In effect, the liberal theorist offers radical criticism of the existing order.
This post takes John Rawls, quotes his writing in the context of what he considers a just society and then compares that with our current situation. The author is not pleased. Many of the objections that Rawls would have made according to this author are the same or similar objections that I would make myself.