The Relationship Between Justice and Equality

Sharing core norms and values
Posted Jun 22, 2022 | NYU Center on International Cooperation, Sheelagh Stewart

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development projects the vision of a “just, equitable, tolerant, open and socially inclusive world in which the needs of the most vulnerable are met.” A core issue is the assumption that if the justice system functions smoothly and efficiently, it will deliver justice. This has distracted from key questions about the way in which the justice system records, reflects, reproduces, and reinforces power in society, notes Sheelagh Stewart in her article for the NYU Center on International Cooperation. A long history suggests flaws. Justice systems can and do perpetuate political and economic inequality. Fairer justice systems create and govern inclusive political and economic institutions, but very few justice systems, if any, have achieved this. The place to start is to ask which justice systems are the most difficult to operate or pose the most problems for disadvantaged and/or marginalized groups.


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