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 11: Social justice in the United States

W. Thomas Duncanson


The context for discussion of social justice in the United States is its remarkable national wealth, equating to a comparatively generous average individual income across the country. From this perspective, the accusation that the United States is a socially unjust nation, unwilling or unable seriously to address the fair expectations of its people is surprising but true. If, as the author argues, a fundamental material generosity and permissive inclusiveness should come easily to any people, it should be the Americans; sadly, it does not. He supports this assertion with a detailed analysis of key factors such as poverty, inequality, and difference, reminding us that access to life chances are highly racialized. Americans are trapped by myths, for example about their own and their country’s generosity. These inequalities, unsolved matters of racial and sexual justice, the unfinished question of violence, mean that the United States enters the future with an enormous agenda of social justice issues.

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