Andre Ata Ujan


Is social justice or economic justice a utopia? This would be one of the questions
that anyone might immediately raise as he/she reads Friedrick August von Hayek’s
position on the idea of social or economic justice. As a classic liberal thinker,
Hayek believed that the free market is the ideal economic system for it in nature
promotes freedom and equality in a free and open society. Is Hayek’s defence of
the free martket economy sufficiently convincing to eliminate any room for social
or economic justice to take place? There is actually no free market in a pure sense.
The market is not totally free from selfish interests that might be developed by
market players themselves in doing business. It is therefore not reasonable to
see the market as a purely spontaneous and independent entity. And since it
is in fact open to selfish interventions, its outcomes may be just or unjust. Free
competition, prompted systematically by the free market system, therefore, could
risk human life. For this reason, state intervention to a certain extent is necessary
to prevent market competition from endangering citizens’ economic prospects. The
state’s intervention is important, as it is necessary, to secure social or economic
justice. Social or economic justice is of course an ideal but not necessarily a utopia
in a radical sense. Taking the unfortunates’ quality of life as the benchmark in
designing and enacting economic policies, social or economic justice might be, at
least partially, realized. John Rawls’ idea of maximin rule or maximin strategy
can pave the way for the realization of such an ideal that every civilized person or
society is essentially craving for.

Kata-kata Kunci: Kebebasan, pasar bebas, katalaksi, spontan,
impersonal, hukum, keadilan sosial, ekonomi komando, regulasi,
maximin rule.

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