From the Idea of Justice to the Idea of Injustice:Mixing the Ideal, Non-ideal and DynamicConceptions of Injustice

Oscar Garza Vazquez

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paper

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Recent legal reforms in Mexico demonstrate that, it, like many other countries, still relies on anunderstanding of development as economic growth in order to justify social policies. The widespreadsocial costs of this framework, however, demand now more than ever before a framework of socialjustice that can counteract the justification and legitimisation of social policies solely based on sucha view of development. While there is a strong demand for social justice to inform political action, inrecent years, ideal theories of justice have also come under severe criticism due to their (apparent)lack of practical policy relevance. This paper departs from this view and argues that ideal theoriesare essential for the reduction of injustice in the present but that it is necessary to reconcile andcomplement ideal and non-ideal approaches to justice. The paper takes Rawls’s Theory of Justice andSen’s Idea of Justice as illustrations of my argument. In the light of the labour reform in Mexico, thispaper, however, argues that both ideal and non-ideal conceptions of justice are necessary but arestill insufficient in reducing injustice. Without a dynamic understanding of injustice and how it isreproduced, approaches to social justice would remain transcendental and, thus, their effectiveapplicability in the real world is highly compromised. This implies the need to go beyond the usualall-purpose conceptions of justice (whether ideal or non-ideal) and establish what the paper calls a‘multi-level’ conception of justice to effectively inform social policies and reduce injustice ‘in the realworld’.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCentre for Development Studies, University of Bath
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

Publication series

NameBath Papers in International Development and Wellbeing


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