Congress and Hunger

“If a social order wishes to minimize the competitive interpersonal conflict likely to be encouraged by a system based on equity, it might emphasize, instead, the values of mutual interdependence and respect. It will do this by accentuating the innate worth and value of all members of the system. In cooperative relations in which fostering of personal development and personal welfare is the primary goal, need will be the dominant principle of distributive justice.”

     picture taken at backyard, Amherst, MA

“If a social order wishes to maximize human development, it may want to de-emphasize merit, perhaps even equality, and, instead, attach greater importance to need as a criterion for distributing the resources of the system.”

“The value structure, then, of a need theory of justice insists on caring relationships, on a notion of human capability beyond mere competitive survival, and on accepting the responsibility for the well-being of one’s fellow humans. We would not argue that a theory of distributive justice be solely expressive of these values. Merit and equality are important values in a social order. We would argue that the “need values” are deserving of priority; because if the human potential based upon these needs is thwarted, merit and equality are difficult, if not possible, to judge. Nor would we wish to imply that we think such a notion of justice based upon human need is an immanently attainable goal. It is not any more than is justice based upon merit or equality. It is an ideal, an expectation, as we have previously called it, which gives “meaning to human striving.” As such, it is deserving of attention by our political decision making institutions; and it is to that problem that we now address ourselves- to the Congress and how closely, if at all, it confronts questions of justice and need on the matter of the poor and hunger.”

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