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Why Social Justice Matters (Themes for the 21st Century)

by

Why Social Justice Matters (Themes for the 21st Century) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the past twenty years, social injustice has increased enormously in Britain and the United States, regardless of the party in power. At the same time, the idea of social justice itself has been subverted, as the mantras of personal responsibility and equal opportunity have been employed as an excuse for doing nothing about the enrichment of the few at the expense of the many and for making ever harsher demands on the poor and vulnerable. With grace and wit, Brian Barry exposes the shoddy logic and distortion of reality that underpins this ideology. Once we understand the role of the social structure in limiting options, we have to recognize that really putting into practice ideas such as equal opportunity and personal responsibility would require a fundamental transformation of almost all existing institutions.

Barry argues that only if inequalities of wealth and income are kept within a narrow range can equal prospects for education, health and autonomy be realized. He proposes a number of policies to achieve a more equal society and argues that they are economically feasible. But are they politically possible? The apparent stability of the status quo is delusory, he responds: radical changes in our way of life are unavoidable. Whether these changes are for better or for worse depends partly on the availability of a coherent set of principles and a programme flowing from them that is capable of mobilizing the growing discontent with business as usual'.

That is, ultimately, why social justice matters.

Synopsis:

In the past twenty years, social injustice has increased enormously in Britain and the United States, regardless of the party in power. At the same time, the idea of social justice itself has been subverted, as the mantras of personal responsibility and equal opportunity have been employed as an excuse for doing nothing about the enrichment of the few at the expense of the many and for making ever harsher demands on the poor and vulnerable. With grace and wit, Brian Barry exposes the shoddy logic and distortion of reality that underpins this ideology. Once we understand the role of the social structure in limiting options, we have to recognize that really putting into practice ideas such as equal opportunity and personal responsibility would require a fundamental transformation of almost all existing institutions.

Barry argues that only if inequalities of wealth and income are kept within a narrow range can equal prospects for education, health and autonomy be realized. He proposes a number of policies to achieve a more equal society and argues that they are economically feasible. But are they politically possible? The apparent stability of the status quo is delusory, he responds: radical changes in our way of life are unavoidable. Whether these changes are for better or for worse depends partly on the availability of a coherent set of principles and a programme flowing from them that is capable of mobilizing the growing discontent with business as usual'.

That is, ultimately, why social justice matters.

About the Author

Brian Barry is Lieber Professor of Political Philosophy at Columbia University.

Table of Contents

Preface..

Part I. Social Justice: The Basics.

Why We Need a Theory.

The Machinery of Social Injustice.

The Scope of Social Justice..

Part II: Equality of Opportunity.

Why Equal Opportunity?.

Education.

Health.

The Making of the Black Gulag..

Part III. What’s Wrong with Meritocracy?.

The Idea of Meritocracy.

The Abuse of Science..

Part IV. The Cult of Personal Responsibility.

Responsibility versus Equality?.

Rights and Responsibilities.

Irresponsible Societies..

Part V. The Demands of Social Justice.

Pathologies of Inequality.

Wealth.

Jobs and Incomes.

Can We Afford Social Justice?.

Part VI. The Future of Social Justice.

The Power of Ideas.

How Change Happens.

Meltdown?.

Justice or Bust.

Notes.

Index.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780745629933
Author:
Barry, Brian
Publisher:
Polity Press
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Political Science
Subject:
Social justice
Subject:
Politics - General
Subject:
Political Philosophy & Theory
Copyright:
Series:
Themes for the 21st Century
Publication Date:
January 2005
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9.02x6.10x.94 in. 1.10 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » History of Medicine
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History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy
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History and Social Science » World History » General
Humanities » Philosophy » General

Why Social Justice Matters (Themes for the 21st Century) New Trade Paper
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Product details 336 pages Polity Press - English 9780745629933 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In the past twenty years, social injustice has increased enormously in Britain and the United States, regardless of the party in power. At the same time, the idea of social justice itself has been subverted, as the mantras of personal responsibility and equal opportunity have been employed as an excuse for doing nothing about the enrichment of the few at the expense of the many and for making ever harsher demands on the poor and vulnerable. With grace and wit, Brian Barry exposes the shoddy logic and distortion of reality that underpins this ideology. Once we understand the role of the social structure in limiting options, we have to recognize that really putting into practice ideas such as equal opportunity and personal responsibility would require a fundamental transformation of almost all existing institutions.

Barry argues that only if inequalities of wealth and income are kept within a narrow range can equal prospects for education, health and autonomy be realized. He proposes a number of policies to achieve a more equal society and argues that they are economically feasible. But are they politically possible? The apparent stability of the status quo is delusory, he responds: radical changes in our way of life are unavoidable. Whether these changes are for better or for worse depends partly on the availability of a coherent set of principles and a programme flowing from them that is capable of mobilizing the growing discontent with business as usual'.

That is, ultimately, why social justice matters.

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