Can an unjust world be better than a just one?

Can an unjust world be better than a just one? Injustice surrounds us in this world. Good people suffer. Bad people thrive. One person benefits at the expense of another. It seems the planet is groaning under the weight of its selfish inhabitants.

What if injustice did not exist? What if every relationship was fair? What if we all respected and honored each other and the other living things we share the world with? What if we did not have to work to defeat injustice. What if the world was always fair?

Imagine the lack of suffering. There would be no war. There would be no poor, no homelessness. There would be no abuse or divorce. There would be no crime, no need for laws or punishments. Employers would pay fair wages and charge fair prices.

A world without injustice would be a perfect world, but could it be better? I believe that it can. To take a simple example, imagine two different relationships (whether romantic, financial or political). One relationship is perfectly fair. The other is not.

In the first imagined relationship, the people involved have a perfectly fair arrangement. Both agree that neither one benefits more than the other. Both are happy.

In the second imagined relationship, one person benefits more than the other. The disadvantaged person is unhappy and complains. In this particular scenario, the advantaged person listens and rectifies the situation. Both grow together as a result.

At first, the preferable relationship is clearly the fair one, when both are happy. But which relationship is happier at the end? Is it the people who never had a conflict? Or the ones who experienced different sides of an unjust situation and rectified it?

I believe that when a person being harmed by injustice speaks up and the person benefiting from it fixes it, they both end up happier than the people who neither benefited from or were harmed by injustice.

I believe injustice is an opportunity to make the world a better place than it would be if injustice had never occurred. When we let injustice go by, we lose twice, because of the injustice itself and because we miss the opportunity to become happier by fixing injustice.

This description of fixing injustice is obviously idealized. It assumes voluntary solutions and ignores how people fall short in their solutions or create new, smaller injustices in their attempts to fix the old, bigger ones. Injustice is rarely solved by a single act.

 

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