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Social Responsibility and Justice

by Brian Risman, Publisher, www thelawjournal co uk - 30 July 2002

09 August 2002 Update: More letters on this topic have arrived -- I have posted a sample of the new correspondence on the Letters page following the Article. Given the high response received over the feature article and the request for reading material, I am streamlining this page for readability -- hope that helps!

Recommended reading :

A Theory of Justice by John Rawls , a modern classic on social contract; and

Anarchy, State and Utopia by Robert Nozick, an interesting critique of the Rawls approach, focusing less on social contract and more on the evils of government intervention. Which approach -- or neither -- do you think is more valid? As below, please contact Brian Risman with your views on the above.

To search for more material on your own (though I will add additional recommendations):

Law Books at Amazon (world shipping)

Also, I am still receiving a large number of world-wide responses that focus on government misbehaviour rather than the corporate variety noted in the article below. Is government a bigger threat to society than corporate misdeeds?

The article, followed by the letters:

Recent events have created the need for a re-examination of our Society in general and the Justice System in particular. While the corporate reporting scandals such as Enron and WorldCom have been dominating headlines recently, the crisis of confidence resulting from the ongoing scandals is really a symptom of deeper issues that need to be addressed.

What is the deepest issue affecting the survival of the justice system? Clearly, the public perception that criminals, whether of the corporate variety or street gangs,  will not be adequately punished by the justice system. This perception, and the judicial decisions that feed it, brings the credibility of the social order into question.

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