Sunday, 24 April 2016

The Decline of South African Society

Excerpts from:

Ronald Dworkin, A Matter of Principle, 1985.

As society becomes poorer, because production falls and wealth decays, it loses a variety of features we cherish. It's culture fails, its order declines, its system of criminal and civil justice becomes less accurate and less fair; in these and other ways society steadily recedes from our conception of a good society. 

The decline cannot be arrested by further taxation to support these public goods, for that will only shrink production further and accelerate the decline. According to this argument, those who lose by programs designed to halt inflation and reinvigorate the economy are called upon to make a sacrifice, not just in order to benefit others privately, but out of a sense of loyalty to the public institutions of their own society.

...suppose that if we are zealous for equality now, we will so depress the wealth of the community that future [generations] will be even less well off than the very poor are now. 

People must not be lives in which they are effectively denied any active part in the political, economic and cultural life of the community.

If our government can provide an attractive future only through present injustice – only by forcing some citizens to sacrifice in the name of a community from which they are in every sense excluded then the rest of us should disown that future, however attractive, because we should not regard it as our future either.

Dworkin, D. (1985) 'A Matter of Principle'.

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