Socio-Economic Inequalities, the Less Privileged and the Quest for Social Justice in Africa

M. O. Aderibigbe


This paper posits that the problem of political instability and social disorder is closely connected to the problem of unjustifiable inequality in the distribution of benefits and burdens in contemporary African societies. The paper argues that to effectively resolve the problem of socio-political instability and disorder in Africa today, adequate attention must be paid to the question of distributive justice. This work adopts John Rawls’ Theory of Justice as his theoretical framework with emphasis laid on his Difference Principle, which prioritizes the demand for social equality over that of liberty. This would reduce the problem of social inequality and its attendant negative consequences, which include widespread poverty and unemployment. Also, this version of the Difference Principle is designed to ensure that social benefits and burdens are distributed equally to the advantage of everyone in the society. The philosophical methods of critical analysis and conceptual clarification are employed, while the significance of this work is to show that equality in the distribution of benefits and burdens would undermine ill-will between the privileged and the less privileged, which is a source of tension that generates political instability and social disorder.


Inequality; Distribution; Justice; Rawls; Equality

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