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Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarianism can be commended for its orientation to human needs and its equal treatment of every person, rich or poor. Under a system of wealth maximization, this is different: the utility of the rich is privileged. Moreover, the same objection must be raised to wealth maximization as to utilitarianism: the individual as such is not taken seriously, a flaw which is brought into particular focus by the question of basic rights and the problem of distributive justice. This impelled John Rawls to develop his two principles of justice. According to the first, the liberty principle, every individual must be endowed with basic rights. In the second, the difference principle, he offers a distribution criterion which is intended to prevent unduly large income disparities.
KeywordsDistributive Justice Difference Principle Argumentation Strategy Legal Certainty Judicial Process
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