Rawls major difference between Democratic Equality and the two

Rawls argues that Democratic Equality constitutes the most acceptable interpretation of the Second Principle. Similar to Liberal Equality, Democratic Equality interprets “positions open to all” to require fair equality of opportunity. The standard eliminates overt discrimination and allows for people with similar talents to have the same chance at garnering success rather than through hereditary privilege. A major difference between Democratic Equality and the two other interpretations discussed is the inclusion of the Difference Principle in interpreting “to everyone’s advantage” (57). Under the Difference Principle, “inequalities that favor the better endowed must work as part of a scheme that benefits the least advantaged” (65). The least advantaged, according to Rawls, would consist of individuals who have less than half of median wealth. The purpose of the Difference Principle is to prevent the arbitrary nature of a natural lottery to distribute talents and abilities from affecting life’s chances.While the imposition of fair and equal opportunity aims to entirely eliminate inequalities due to social endowments, the Difference Principle allows inequalities due to natural endowments and it not as ambitious. There are two main explanations behind allowing inequalities due to natural endowments. The first explanation is centered on that inequalities and incentives allow workers to be more productive. If society were to have unequal salaries, it would encourage people to work and become productive. A stronger argument behind justifying not eliminating natural endowments is from the belief that individuals are entitled to a fair compensation from work. When an individual contributes asymmetrically to society, that individual would need an asymmetric salary or compensation. Not recognizing the differing contributions by individuals in society due to their natural endowments would be unjust. Therefore, the Difference Principle is not as ambitious as fair and equal opportunity is at eliminating social endowments.


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