Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Understanding Justice

There is a picture making rounds trying to explain the difference between equality and equity:

Somehow this disappoints me. If equity is endeavoring to ensure that everyone is at a level regardless of the work they have expended on getting there, it seems to me that noone would be interested in working at all. I made this diagram to try to explain my thoughts on what justice really means:

In this picture, everyone is safely above water level, but not at the same level. The tallest person is above the water from the hip, the next person from the waist and the smallest from the shoulders. If a toddler were present who could not stand on her own, the tallest person would carry her.

To me, this represents justice. There is a line which demands fundamental rights- water, healthcare, education, opportunities for advancement, electricity, shelter, access to the internet, etc are all part of this. However fundamental or basic rights are not always found in nature- they are sometimes refined or created by people, so those of us who are resource-rich have an obligation to help others in need to get these. People are also motivated to rise above this "dependent" level once they know they have a safety net.

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