Within todays society, the gap between poor and rich has never been wider. While some people have more money than it is possible to spend in a lifespan, no matter how extravagantly they might make purchases; others are not able to provide even for their most simple and basic needs. The situation raises the dispute of whether the affluent members of the world have an ethical obligation to help the poor.
All human beings have basic needs that must be met in order to survive. If these needs are not met, there can be disastrous results such as the inability to function on a psychological, sociological, or emotional level or even death. With this being said, I firmly agree that justice entails the prosperous providing a means of sustainability for the poorer members of a society. I feel that people who are relatively well-off should give a reasonable percentage of their earnings to help reduce absolute poverty on a global scale.
My view on justice is that those who are wealthy have an obligation to give up a small yet helpful share of their earnings. Though I partially agree with Robert Nozicks notion that taxation of earnings is on a par with forced labour, this money will be used to help alleviate concentrated poverty. Instead of viewing taxation as theft, it is better to think of it as society getting together and agreeing that the poor and less fortunate need extra assistance so that they can have a minimal level of sustainable living.
Additionally, citizens have agreed to pay taxes, whether we realize it or not. This is part of the social contract, which is an automatic agreement between citizens and the government, whereby the citizens pledge to pay taxes and follow the laws, in return for the governments services and protection. Taxation is dissimilar to theft because pickpockets and thieves do not provide valuable services, let alone services that enable you to make the very money that they are taking a share of. I do however agree that hardworking human beings have a right to indulge in their earnings and do as they please. These hardworking individuals should however be mindful of the injustices occurring around them and seek to make amends.
Similar to John Rawls, I believe that while each person has different ends and goals, different backgrounds and talents, each ought to have a fair chance to develop his or her talents and to pursue those goals fairly and equally. Life should not be a race or contest where the talented or gifted prevail; it should be complete cooperation amongst all so that there may be equitable and meaningful life for all. By providing for the least fortunate we can potentially eliminate all forms of discrimination and bias against races, ethnic origin, social standards and religious intolerance and beliefs. This will essentially level the playing field for all members of society.
This levelling of the playing field will prove to be beneficial for those who are unfortunate and ill-fated, especially for women and children. Susan Moller Okin goes into great detail about the oppression of women and children. Okin argues that philosophers of justice have neglected the relevance of gender injustice in the family and in society, to which I moderately agree. Our patriarchal society has systematically marginalized women in the working world. They advance more slowly and are paid less. Furthermore, since domestic labour is unpaid, the result is that women become vulnerable and dependent. Although there are exceptions to her argument, I agree with most of her points since she is heavily inspired by John Rawls and since she makes very valid statements.
It is harder for women to escape poverty since they have less access to jobs and economic opportunities. Typically speaking, women have less time to work because they do a disproportionate share of the housekeeping, culinary catering and child care. This as a result locks them within the prejudicial confines of poverty. Because human beings should value all future members of society, regardless of the circumstances of their birth, we must ensure that children of single parents are protected and enabled in ways that allow them to thrive in and eventually contribute to our society in ways no different from offspring of two-parent families. Children grow up to be members of our society. Their robustness and wellbeing or lack thereof has long-term drawbacks for us all.
Upon concluding, prosperous people should give a certain percentage of their wealth to help do away with scarceness and poverty in the world. People are living beings who have a right to healthy lives, and it is morally unjust allow prolonged suffering and death when helping the less fortunate thrive is well within your means. We should attempt to be a society that values all its citizens. We need to examine our public guidelines and rethink how they can bring value not only to us as individuals, but how they might foster an environment in which we appreciate our mutual obligations to one another.