System justification theory was initially proposed by John T. Jost and Mahzarin R. Banaji in 1994 to explain how and why people tolerate unjust and exploitative social arrangements rather than doing everything they can to change the status quo and thereby create a better, more just system. The need for such an explanation arises from historical observations revealing numerous instances of people not merely passively acceptingbut sometimes even actively justifying and rationalizing social systems that are seen as extremely unjust by outsiders, often in retrospect.

For example, the caste system in India has survived largely intact for 3,000 years, and the institution of slavery lasted for more than 400 years in Europe and the Americas. Colonialism was also practiced for centuries and still is in some ...

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