Tim Morris is an opinions columnist at | The Times-Picayune. He can be reached at [email protected] . Follow him on Twitter @tmorris504 .
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In addition, we can also understand conflict in terms of tension that arises between the different justice principles. Conflict about what is just might be expressed as conflict about which principle of justice should be applied in a given situation or how that principle should be implemented. The ways of thinking about justice can have conflicting implications, leading to disputes about fairness. For example, some believe that an equitable distribution is the most fair, while others insist that a society's assets should be allocated according to need. A conflict may thus arise surrounding whether to base an economic system on productivity (those who work hardest should earn the most), identity (the rich are "job makers" and thus should get richer) or social welfare (the poor need help more, so the rich should get taxed to help raise the income of the poor). Similarly, some believe that those who violate the rights of others should receive their just deserts (paying a fine or going to prison), while others believe that our focus should be on the needs of victims and offenders (which can be protected through a restorative justice system).
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A key component of Rawls' argument is his claim that his Principles of Justice would be chosen by parties in the original position .  This is a thought experiment in which the parties select principles that will determine the basic structure of the society they will live in. This choice is made from behind a veil of ignorance , which would deprive participants of information about their particular characteristics: his or her ethnicity, social status, gender and, crucially, their conception of The Good. This forces participants to select principles impartially and rationally.