John Rawls and Creative hubs

2016 has been a year of many violations of Social Rights. Conflicts of different kind have been taking place in different spaces and at different moments. However, why the institutions of the enlightenment that we have proudly created in the last two hundred years have not been able to respond in an effective way to such crisis? Is it because of the lack of political commitment, or perhaps, because of a lack of capacity building? what is true is that at this moment millions of people in this world lack motivation, they continue to survive by struggling in a world full of many complexities that they are unable to understand. Syria and Yemen are among  those countries were many people continue to struggle to meet their basic needs. Many of these countries dealing with internal conflicts are currently facing humanitarian disasters. Desperate for some food, they do not have other choice but to immigrate to other countries in search for survival. Despite all the institutions and mechanisms that we have set up until now at the national and international level, unfortunately, we have not been able to provide a robust solution to the many of the problems that humanity is facing.

Justice as Fairness

Back in 1971 John Rawls´s first work aimed to provide a solution to this issue. For Rawls Justice is Fairness. Rawl´s theory presents a hypothetical scenario where agents set the task of deciding in an objective way what type of political or economic institutions they will need to choose to live a good life. In a context where choices have already been made by the structures existing out there and people are trapped into structural processes, for Rawls, Agents are capable of imagining themselves in a conscious intelligent state before their own birth but without any absolute knowledge of what type of circumstances they will go to be born into (gender, race, age, intelligence, wealth, skills, education and religion). Agents in that way are able to distance and liberate themselves in an objective way from reality. This capacity allows them to reflect about their lives. In this space of reality Agents seem to be constrained under a veil of ignorance.  This particular constrain position agents in an original position. Despite this constrain, however agents somehow remain active. In the original position Agents have the knowledge of how to choose the good life they want to live, however such decision will only be achieved at the end of a specific democratic deliberation process. Individuals are able to understand the principle of justice and reflect their actions and their decisions in the light of this principle. From this original position two principles are derived; the Liberty principle and the Equality principle. Agents in an original position would choose Fair equality of opportunity and the difference principles to organize their lives. The difference principle entails that people may benefit from their fortune, from their luck on the genetic lottery but only on terms that work to the advantage of the least well off. It is important to highlight that in this new social contract people give up some of their liberties and freedoms in return for protection and fulfilment of their rights. However, why governments have not been able to operationalize this egalitarian approach? Why societies are still considered unfair?

One answer is that governments are currently unable to show equal concern for the natural lottery, the lack of talents, endowments, abilities and bad luck of people. Although people lack motivation, are found in isolation, feel frustrated and desperate, government policies are unable to recognize this. Instead, Governments seem to be immersed in a vicious circle returning from time to time to the operationalization of formal equality principles adopting a libertarian approach of the free market that they are willing to advocate and which  entails that when opportunities are open to everyone the just distribution will result.

One strategic solution to this unfairness by government policies might be provided by the creation of creative hubs or Centres. The aim of these spaces is to bring people together gathered in a space with minimun standards with a particular aim. We already know many hubs especially in the business sector. However, we need to promote more the creation of creative hubs in the social area.  Hubs can  provide answers to the challenges that social rights are facing today. For instance, at this time Hubs are providing a solution to reduce the high levels of unemployment by providing not only a working environment but also contacts, allowing at the same time agents to keep up self-steem and motivation. We need to expand these spaces to include Hubs for refugees, for homeless people and for the elderly.

These type of mechanisms ensure a more egalitarian attitude. The problem is that the world has already been organised, choices of redistribution have already been made. Thus, reorganisation implies to create more hubs where agents can obtain more motivation. Creative hubs have the advantage of bringing minimun standards and principles for those people who are found to be trapped in guettos, slums or favelas. It is important to highlight that Hubs cannot be perceived as prisons rather on a practical terms Hubs should be seem as spaces where people might learn to live and enjoy a decent and dignified life.

 

 

 

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