Economics Dictionary of Arguments

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Society: "Society" refers to a group of individuals living together in a community, sharing common norms, values, and institutions, and often governed by established rules or laws. It encompasses social interactions, relationships, and collective organization within a given geographical or cultural context. See also Community, Culture, State, Norms, Values, Institutions.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

John Rawls on Society - Dictionary of Arguments

I 4
Def society/Rawls: Let us assume that a society is a more or less self-sufficient merger of people who recognize certain behavioral rules and usually live in harmony with them. These rules are intended to create a system of cooperation which will provide the participants with advantages. Then society is typically characterized by conflicts as well as equal interests.
I 12
Society/Rawls: according to our principle of justice as fairness, we assume that the parties of the initial situation are rational and not interested in the interests of others. That is, for example, that they allow that their religious attitudes differ.
I 13
Inequality: e.g. in prosperity and authority: is only justified if it serves the public good and the weakest members of society. Unequal distribution should be such as to encourage the willingness of all to cooperate.
I 17
Objectives/purposes: objectives and purposes should not be placed in a ranking.
I 118
Society/initial position/Rawls: what is the initial position for a society to be established?
I 119
We must show that the two principles of justice (See Principles/Rawls) have emerged from a rational choice of individuals in the initial situation to secure their own benefits. For example, that they are an answer to unbridled egoism. When individuals judge deductively, an equilibrium will develop, such as in markets, for example.
I 120
Equilibrium: but does not guarantee that the state is fair yet. It just means that people act effectively to secure their position.
Initial position: is defined as a status quo in which all reached agreements are fair, in which the parties involved are moral persons and the result is not determined by accidental inequalities. This makes it possible to adopt procedural fairness from the outset. Of course, the initial situation is a completely fictional one; it cannot serve to explain concrete human action.
I 121
Psychology: It is also not about psychological laws that could be effective in building a society. We assume psychology only in relation to rational expectations in connection with the individual interests of people. However, our further procedure can be purely deductive. Nevertheless, my approach is always very intuitive.
Initial situation/Rawls: still allows different interpretations regarding attitudes, beliefs and available alternatives for the parties involved.
I 123
Optimum: Unfortunately, we have no way of identifying which action alternatives are best for the participants in the initial situation. We are content with a small selection of classical possibilities, which we assume will be available to the parties involved:
I 124
For example, the principles of greatest general equality, average utility, a social minimum, the principle of usefulness, the principle of perfection, the intuitional balance between overall utility and equal distribution, average utility against the principle of remedy, the dictatorship of the first person, free-riding, solipsism, total freedom for everyone.
I 128
Circumstances of the initial situation: we assume a certain scarcity of resources and a disinterest of the persons in the individual interest of others, as well as a knowledge that these circumstances exist.
I 129
Mutual disinterest is intended to ensure that the principles of justice are not based on overly strong assumptions. For the basis of a theory it is best to assume as little as possible.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Rawl I
J. Rawls
A Theory of Justice: Original Edition Oxford 2005

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