Friday, January 4, 2013

What in the World is Social Justice

    In the last two posts I have thrown around the term social justice. I didn't define social justice. I'm sure that books have been written about social justice but I haven't read them.

    However , I believe in social justice. Since I was a teacher in a middle school classroom for thirty seven years, I long ago understood that there were major differences in people. For example, physical and mental skills varied widely. Learning styles ran a wide gamut. Then we can consider learning difficulties or learning disabilities. All of these folks can succeed and live happy productive lives.

    Okay , what's this got to do with social justice. The playing field, the rules, the opportunities have to be there in a way that makes it fair. Don't set up laws or rules that give an advantage to one group and penalize another group. That's what I've been talking about in the previous two posts. Rules were set up and broken for First Nations people. At one time aboriginals had to have permission to leave the reserve.

   From a wider perspective...the Occupy Movement...taxes can be set up to give certain groups an advantage. The one percent that the Occupy Movement focused on have major advantages because of government regulations. So the income gap between the top incomes and middle incomes keep getting wider. You might say this is an example of Social injustice. Historically women were at a disadvantage in many ways...maternity benefits and leave, wages, pensions...So females had a tougher time to succeed because some of the cards in the deck were stacked against them.

    One example that really upsets me is where subsidies are applied. In many cases it is a license to print money. I'll give you one example. In Alberta oil companies are paid $300.00 per meter to drill an oil well. I can not believe that there is any reason to subsidize rich and profitable oil companies. Do small one man companies ever get a subsidy like that?

    There are some sad stories in Canada. The Chinese at one time were charged a fee for the right to come to this country and work. They were not allowed to bring their families. In WW II the Japanese in Canada had their property confiscated and were sent to work camps. Their property was never returned although 60 years later they received an apology and some compensation. We are again setting up second class workers with the immigration policy that we have for temporary  foreign workers.

    So I see social justice as a policy the gives a fair opportunity for all people to succeed with the skills and abilities they have.