Handbook on Global Social Justice
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Handbook on Global Social Justice

Edited by Gary Craig

In the fifty years since Rawls seminal work A Theory of Justice, the concept has been debated with those on the political right and left advocating very different understandings. This unique global collection, written by a group of international experts, offers wide-ranging analyses of the meaning of social justice that challenge the ability of the market to provide social justice for all. The Handbook also looks at how the theory of social justice informs practice within a range of occupations or welfare divisions.
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Chapter 5: Democracy and social justice

David Beetham


This chapter analyses the significance of the claims of social justice on democratic forms of political life. The claim of democracy is that it provides both a standard of social justice in the political sphere and a means to remedy injustices in economy and society. As the author notes, it bears both an intrinsic and extrinsic relationship to social justice. The two basic principles of democracy – popular control over collective decision-making and decision-makers, and equality in the exercise of that control – serve as a clear standard for social justice in the political domain. In the context of a representative democracy, these two principles require that votes for public office should determine both who governs and the broad thrust of government policy, and that votes should count equally.

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