Difference Principle

A principle in Rawls' theory of justice-as-fairness that states that social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so they are to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged. Rawls' theory focuses on both liberty (the opportunity for individuals to make choices) and equality, which is the focus of the difference principle. Rawls' principle is based on the premise that people deserve neither their natural abilities nor their place in the social hierarchy, and he contends that it would be unfair to allow distribution of benefits, resources, and so on to be influenced by such factors that are arbitrary from a moral point of view. This is a key principle in Ernest R. House's work on justice and evaluation.

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