30 May 2013

Day 226: Deserving Life or Death - Social Justice and Human Rights - Part 5

This blog-post is a continuation to:
Day 118: Justice and Human Rights
Day 220: Justice and Human Rights - Part 2
Day 222: Justice and Human Rights - Part 3
Day 224: Justice and Human Rights - Part 4 - Social Justice: Merits and Deserts

In the Previous blog-post we discussed the Principle of Merits and Deserts as a basis for just distribution of resources. It became clear that to distribute goods and services based on 'who deserves them' is a more complicated matter than it may initially seem to be. There are different definitions to the word 'merit' or different conditions under which it could be applicable and it is not clear which is preferrable. As such, there is also no way of measuring merit in an objective way.

Furthermore, the implications of distributing goods and services based on merit must be understood. Distributing goods and services is not a matter of distributing 'prizes' after a match. Everything a person requires to live in this world is either a good or a service. Therefore, can we really make such things as whether or not a person has a lifeline, dependent on a game of 'see who's better than who'? Do we need to deserve to stay alive? Currently this is implied in our economic system. I know we've all been taken in by the 'Survival of the Fittest' Theory and regardless of the debate on its validity - do we really want this to be who we are? That we let people die because apparently in some way it has been 'assessed' that they weren't worthy of life, that they didn't deserve to live?

We were all born onto this planet, we are all alive - where does it state that we now also have to deserve to be alive? Because - that is what we literally do by participating in this economic system and going to work: trying to 'earn our living'. Isn't that an absurd idea?

We grow up as a child, some of us in the illusion of being able to play all day and have fun, still ignorant about the 'complicated stuff' of the 'grown-up world' - where we still believe in magic, because we don't see how it's a problem that something just pops up out of nothing and that there must be a trick behind it - where we trust what others tell us because we don't see a reason why we wouldn't - to then some day wake up in a world of competition and struggle, where you're now told: This world is a scary place! You better prepare yourself because otherwise you won't make it! You can't pay the rent, get out! You can't afford that, put it back! Didn't anyone ever teach you that in this world it's every man for himself! Toughen up!

Obviously - if you hear these words by the time you're a teenager, you're lucky, you still had a pretty good life - there are children out there who are exposed to the cruelties of the world from as early as they can remember.  What do we say to them? Sorry, you just don't deserve any better? What apparent superpower decided that the world has to be this way that we now apparently all have to continue living our life in service of it?

In the next part of this series we discuss the Principle of Need as a basis for distribution.
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