Dworkin

 

  • Recently, I have contacted the material called “resource egalitarian alternative” developed by Ronald Dworkin. Somehow I am considering it has deep relationship with systemic injustice or inequality. Dworkin’s idea of equal rights came into being in the turbulent social background of the United States in 1960s and 1970s. Based on the principle of importance equality and the principle of specific responsibility, Dworkin constructs an ideal equal distribution model consisting of desert island auction and virtual insurance market, that is, resource equality. Dworkin’s idea of equality provided the United States with a good antidote to temporarily alleviate social contradictions, which was of great reference significance at that time.

Dworkin envisions a boatload of people arriving on an isolated island and faced with the task of allocating the island’s resources. There are, of course, two other implicit external conditions. First, there were enough of them to reproduce; Second, the island’s resources were neither extremely rich nor extremely poor, enough for everyone to live a decent life, but not enough to satisfy everyone’s desires. This assumption, as Dworkin understood it, starts with everyone having the same purchasing power. This is done by everyone having the same number of shells that can be used to auction off resources. Second, let what everyone gets reflect the true opportunity cost. This was achieved through an infinite number of auctions so that no one envied anyone else’s stuff. Therefore, the equal auction process of resources is also a process that allows people to obtain the most adequate information under the premise that everyone has the same purchasing power, so as to maximize the utility of resource allocation.

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Dworkin admits that the theory of resource equality is an idealized state of distribution justice and a counter-factual thinking. For this, we need to refer to the theory of resource equality to propose an “improvement theory” that is aimed at reality and is moving towards the ideal of resource equality. Based on it, imagine a technically feasible “justifiable equal distribution.”

 

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  • For more than 200 years since the founding of the United States, all presidential candidates in the United States have adhered to the WASP principle. That is to say, the candidate must be a Protestant Angelus. “White Saxons”, a tradition that has never been broken in American politics. (Mr. Obama’s mother is a Protestant Anglo. He is a White Saxon, so he meets this condition. From the premise of the PRESIDENTIAL election in the United States, even the election of the head of state has a clear “white first” color. Then we can know what kind of “ceiling” the colored people will face in the fields of work, life, study, and employment in all aspects of American society.

 

Growing up in a poor rust Belt town, J.D. Vance joined the Marine Corps after high school and served in Iraq. He attended Ohio State University and Yale Law School and is now a management officer at an investment firm in Silicon Valley. He is white, but he does not equate himself with a Protestant white Anglo-Saxon in the North-East. He sees himself, by contrast, as part of a Scots-Irish descent of millions of white working-class people without a college degree. For this group, poverty is a family tradition — their ancestors worked as slave laborers in the South, then as sharecroppers, coal miners and, more recently, as mechanics and factory workers. In the United States, it is called WASP, or White Anglo-Saxon, and is the descendant of protestant England, which is regarded by the small community as the dominant group in the United States. They are hillbillies, rednecks, or white trash. To me, they are neighbors, friends, and family. It is ironic when collectively group only see and make a statement on one side of systemic issue and injustice.

 

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3) In my searching for systemic injustice, I saw an article called “as media watch US uprisings, EU has racism problems, too.” The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced that a review of London landmarks will be carried out in a bid to rid the capital of anything linked to slavery. Sadiq Khan’s decision follows the overthrow of a statue of slave trader Edward Colston by protesters at black Lives Matter in Bristol. In my opinion, the existence of such an inaccurate historic figure statue is a kind of systemic injustice. Moreover, asked how to define the criteria for assessing London’s landmarks, Khan said many great historical figures were not perfect, given that a statue of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill was also recently marked “Churchill is a racist”. He added that history should be taught “without avoiding ugliness”. But the question and Khan’s answer shows that the blurring of the line between racists who need to be overthrown and statues important enough to be preserved is disturbing.

A very brief review of the people behind some of London’s most famous monuments and their connections reveals how much of history’s “ugliness” has not only been omitted from the plaques and memorials but is reflected in the racist views and statements of British former leaders. Sir Winston Churchill, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s hero, and Britain’s most famous wartime leader,  was an outspoken believer in white superiority. He boasted of having killed three “barbarians” during his early career in fighting rebels in Sudan. These features of Churchill’s life and character have been largely ignored by the British education system, and consequently by the public and the common discourse about him.

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4) Referring back to the epidemic, I realized that health insurance, medical care, and COVID testing symbolized the phenomenon of systemic injustice. Medicare is for the elderly, the disabled and the seriously ill, while Medicaid is for those whose incomes and resources are insufficient to pay for health care. The rest have to buy private insurance, either through their employer or on their own. If uninsured, treatment is still available in case of emergency, but self-financed medical expenses can be astronomical. In effect, the Democrats’ idea of medicare for all would become truly uninsured. Under the Democrats’ plan, medicare today would be forced to die.

Medicare for All would phase all Americans into a government-run system to replace private insurance. Trump and others have pointed to the huge cost of the plan, while Sanders and supporters of the proposal have pointed out that businesses and people would no longer have to pay premiums to private insurers. Trump, for his part, campaigned on promises to protect health insurance and work to repeal Obamacare. I would say that could lead to a big increase in the number of uninsured.

The health care system has largely benefited from Wall Street, insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry, but has left people unable to pay their medical bills or bankrupted themselves. And I noted that polls show Americans support moving towards Medicare and the single-payer system. About 28 million people are uninsured, and millions more are underinsured, so they continuously trapped in a vortex of passivity. It is fair enough that systemic injustice is being present in my perspective.

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5) The death of Floyd Has sparked protests around the world, with a number of statues of famous people coming under fire for allegedly being racist. Whether they go or stay has also become a point of debate. The statue of Confederate Commander Robert Lee in Virginia will be removed by July, and the British slave trader Edward Colston will be moved to a museum after he is pulled out of the water. Artist Tracey Emin is excited by the departure of these “hackneyed old men,” and faced with the empty plinth Anish Kapoor wants to build a monument to the millions of people killed by slavery. By contrast, The Churchill figure in London’s Parliament Square is temporarily protected as a wartime heritage site to fend off protesters. But is it a loss of heritage or self-examination of history behind statues such as Churchill being protected or torn down?

Does the removal of the statue erase history? Did the protest against the statue evoke memories of people and things forgotten in the slow but steady time? But why have men who are considered hackneyed been hidden from view for years, even centuries?  In my perspective, most of us walk through public monuments with a blind indifference that equates to masked violence. But somewhere along the way, the statues became synonymous with the power they represented and became the focus of public anger. It is particularly ironic that in order to withstand the weather and the test of time. The monumental statues were constructed of durable materials, which led the protesters to mock them with violence.

Britain’s fight against its shameful history of systemic injustice came too late. Does the sinking of public sculptures such as slave traders signal an urgent need to fix and restart the whole social system? As for what happens to the statues and their empty pedestals, I think it’s time for the white people to listen to society, the world and make room.

 

 

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