puritySo, you all know that on Saturdays we do philosophy challenges, and I’ve been focusing on wealth and poverty issues for the past couple of months. Last week, or the week before, I asked a question about the concept of a ‘fair wage’ and whether or not that was even a meaningful term in a Capitalist society. This week, I want to build on that idea some. Honestly, I think the previous question is a good one, but I also think that we need to go farther with the question. I think, as a general basis, the concept of a ‘fair wage’ has no meaning in a generally Capitalistic society… unless that society is ‘just’. I want to stress here that I am using ‘just’ in the Platonic sense of ‘rightly ordered’. In Plato’s philosophy justice was the virtue of having a rightly ordered soul. That is to say that the three parts of the soul (rational, spirited, and appetitive) were all doing what they were intended to do, and not shirking their duties or usurping someone else’s. Plato also sets this out in his just society where the Guardians (rulers), Militia (soldiers), and Laborers (… … laborers…) were all doing their jobs. The laborers weren’t trying to be rulers or soldiers, and the soldiers weren’t trying to be laborers. However, rather than any concept of rightly ordered roles, I want to argue that a capitalistic society must have rightly ordered values (i.e. the importance that we place on entertainment, education, health, exercise, virtue, income, etc) in order for the concept of a ‘fair wage’ to have any meaning at all. Further, I think (though I haven’t thought this argument through entirely) that a capitalistic society with rightly ordered values could not fail to have a truly fair system of wages. So, take this idea and run with it. Agree? Disagree? Think I’m completely loopy and need to become a communist? Write me a 1000 word story that exemplifies and defends your response to this idea. Oh, and have fun!


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