It is likely to take many decades, if not centuries, before we can achieve real social justice in the world. There are, after all, so many barriers to the achievement of social justice. And there are so many people who seem to be hell-bent on ensuring that social justice is not achieved (because they feel that it would affect their interests negatively). You have to appreciate the fact that there are people who benefit from others’ suffering. Now true social justice would serve to reduce such suffering — by breaking the barriers to upward mobility. And in so doing, it would end up injuring the interests of the people who benefit from others’ suffering. Therefore the attainment of social justice keeps on encountering various obstacles. But, in spite of such obstacles (or rather, in an effort to go round such obstacles), there are certain things we can do, to achieve social justice faster:
- By investing more in (wholesome) education: the pursuit of social justice is all about one thing. It is all about trying to get rid of the obstacles that keep people from advancing. Now lack of education is one such obstacle. Therefore, by investing in more (wholesome) education, we will be hastening the achievement of social justice. Education is an excellent equalizer. It bothers us a great deal to see that even in the so-called developed world, we still have huge populations of folks who are virtually illiterate. You meet a fellow who is so illiterate that he can’t even manage to check gift card balance online! Something as simple as visiting a web-based portal to view gift card balance is beyond him. Yet he is in a supposedly developed nation. Naturally, such an individual is likely to face lots of obstacles to socio-economic progress. Chances are that he will, for life, be limited to menial jobs. For such an individual, social justice is likely to be out of reach.
- By making good political choices: broadly speaking, there are two types of political forces in the world. The first category is that of political actors who work for the benefit of themselves and small cliques of people around them. The second category is that of political actors who work for the greater good of the society. It is the latter category that is likely to promote social justice. By identifying the political actors who are in the second category, and ensuring that they get into office, we will be hastening the achievement of social justice.
- By getting the rich to embrace social justice: This, for sure, is a tall order. See, one group of people who tend to place obstacles to the attainment of social justice is that of rich people (or rather, individuals who consider themselves to be rich and elite). Having managed to find their way up, they are keen to kick the ladders that took them there — so as to ensure that other ‘lesser mortals’ don’t rise to the same levels. But we can show the rich that they actually stand to benefit by having a society that is generally prosperous. That, for instance, their businesses will do better if the people around them are financially empowered. The moment we get the rich to embrace social justice, most of the barriers to its attainment will be promptly removed. But for us to get to that level, we have to ensure that the social justice debate is not coined as a ‘rich vs poor’ debate. On the contrary, it needs to be set up as a debate for the greater social good: for everyone, rich or poor, is bound to benefit from a society that is just. With greater social justice, we are bound to see a decline in crime, a decline in violence as well as greater prosperity and political stability. Surely, that would be beneficial to all people – the rich and the poor – wouldn’t it?