Egalitarian | Self-worth and development

LAST Sunday’s preaching talked about sacrifice; the priest underscored that sacrifice can only be one if it is meant as deeply changing. The key word is reorientation. The homily of the priest toggled the economist in me. After all, if God is Lord of Abundance, then there is no spiritual business for continued poverty and hunger, there is only the persistent growth and happiness.

Let me begin by talking about the main debate about what catapults a person into greatness. The significance of the person does not lie on top of wealth and power; it lies deep within. It is in etched in the core of self-knowledge and the importance the people imply of that person. By and large, people mistake money and having a lot of responsibilities for person’s worth. Nathaniel Branden, a Canadian-American psychotherapist, disbanded this concept. He branded this prevalent impression as the fallacy of contingent. The person’s value depends on what the current culture dictates as essential; this is an unending competition. So, Branden separated the person’s worth and social expectations by marking out the natural dependence of individuals on behavioral successes and achievements in life and the definition of good life. This brings in the broad discourse of the changing culture of the nation and the notion of what is ought of a society. To determine the primary culture and common morality of the people, the veil of ignorance experiment of the American philosopher John Rawls is summoned here.

The veil of ignorance is a social experiment, and it goes something like this. Suppose people are asked to decide on the typology of the society that they choose to live in, then how are they going to determine the distribution of wealth, power, comfort, and social class. The experiment further warns that the individuals will not know their place in the society that they choose.

The veil of ignorance allows the practice of reflecting how life can be if one lives a life opposite to what they have now due to a decision that they make of a society. Say, if the wealthy are forced through the veil of ignorance to imagine that they are poor: no cars to drive, no food to eat, no money to buy clothes, no sturdy house to stay shelter in during typhoons, then the apathy of the rich will disappear.

The disregard of the rich on the use of disabled space for parking will vanish; the strong and the muscled won’t race against the weak and sickly in the use of elevators, escalators and entrances and exits. The powerful will start rethinking of the use of arms to force their ways into the land and homestead of the powerless. The shrewd enterprises will make up for the wrong prices and the defective products sold. If individuals will start to think of how life can be if they live the life opposite of what they have now, the understanding of accountability and entitlement will change.

Since everyone will feel the uncertainty of a condition in life once the veil of ignorance is taken, then individuals in the society will take into greater consideration the perspectives of all members of the community including the have nots and those who have a lot, then the distribution or resources will become more equitable.

Therefore, the development initiatives of the decision-makers need be directed towards creating a society conducive to the growth of people’s self-esteem. The American development economist Michael Todaro enumerated the targets of development inclusive of raising standards of living founded on a wider social, political and economic systems and institutions that promote human dignity and in an ever-widening exercise of freedom. If everyone starts to use the veil of ignorance in deciding for the pursuit of a federal republic for this country, then we will surely have a nation far prosperous, united and historically healed.

Posted in Opinion