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Sense of justice needed by all in our society

Updated: 2014-03-22 08:24
By Zhu Yuan ( China Daily)

Sense of justice needed by all in our society

Consider this incident. A group of homebuyers in Changzhou, Jiangsu province, rushed to the office of the real estate company where they had purchased their apartments and smashed whatever they could put their hands on simply because the price of their properties dropped after they bought them.

This followed another case in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang province, weeks earlier.

Do these people have the least sense of justice? They know that house prices can rise or fall. It is ridiculous for a buyer to purchase an apartment thinking prices are only going to go up and he or she holds the key to a jackpot.

It may sound absurd to discuss people's sense of justice. But when things such as this happen they provoke our power of judgment to the point of casting doubt on some people's understanding of liberty and equality as well as the sense of justice.

John Rawls in his book Political Liberalism says that a sense of justice is the capacity to understand, to apply and to act from the public conception of justice which characterizes the fair terms of social cooperation.

If these people are supposedly aware of the sense of justice, something must have gone wrong with the public conception of justice. So the next question is whether our public conception of justice characterizes the fair terms of cooperation.

This is too large a topic to discuss here, but I can hazard a conjecture about what these homebuyers think about the public conception of justice on the matter of home prices: It fails to characterize the fair terms of cooperation because local governments make big bucks from the land sales for real estate every year and also because land prices continue to rise all the time.

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