The piece of Social Justice vs. Market Justice explores how these two concepts influence ideas which then influence language and actions. As stated in the article, Market Justice has become somewhat of a “default” for the American society. Market Justice is the belief that people earn what they have received in life; for example, if someone were to choose to not attend college, they deserve a lower paying job as they did not put in the effort to obtain a higher paying job. Therefore, those who believe in Market Justice believe that what happens in a person’s life is directly related to the choices that that person has made. Social Justice is the belief that not everyone had the same starting point when they were born, therefore, basic benefits should be assured to level the playing field. For example, if someone could not afford to attend college due to their socioeconomic status growing up, why should they have to live with a lower paying job? They were never even given a chance to go to college without falling in major debt. Social Justice would put community wellbeing before personal wellbeing to bridge the ever-growing economic gap.
A large health area of concern for me is nutrition. I am fully aware that not everyone is able to afford healthy food all the time, nor does everyone have the time to make healthy food. For instance, a prepackaged salad at Fred Meyer costs $3 to $4 for one serving, whereas a frozen pizza costs about the same, but contains two to four servings. In Market Justice, it would be argued that those who choose the salad are opting for a healthy lifestyle and therefore are choosing the health benefits that come along with that. If someone is unable to afford the salad due to their economic status, that is also on them as they have chosen their career and how much they are paid. Those who are choosing the pizza are opting for an unhealthy lifestyle and deserve the health problems that come with that.
In contrast, in Social Justice, it is recognized that for some, this is not a choice. For some, it is not possible to spend $4 on one person’s meal, so they must choose the pizza for economic reasons only. If this leads to health problems, then so be it, there was no choice to be made. Social Justice would argue that economic status cannot always be determined by an individual. Based on the earnings of the parents, some people may have to start working at an early age to help their parents afford basic necessities, therefore they may neglect school, and may not be able to attend college. This can be traced back several generations. In 1865 to 1867 when slavery was abolished, former slaves were not given much, if anything, to live on, so they had to work and were only able to afford basic necessities, therefore, their children had to work and were also poor, and so on and so forth. So, according to Social Justice, why should people now have to live with the choices, or forced choices, of their ancestors?
I will be able to use this knowledge of Market Justice vs. Social Justice in my future career as a Registered Dietitian from an economic standpoint. If a client is unable to afford healthier foods, I should be able to make suggestions of foods that are commonly carried at a food bank, and point them in that direction so that they are able to make healthier choices without too much strain on their income. In nutrition it is very easy to get in the mindset of “you have chosen to eat poorly and now you have poor health.” However, it must be recognized that health is a combination of factors, one of which being genetics. So again, why should someone have to live with the choice, or forced choices, or their ancestors? In Market Justice terms, the answer would be that it is the individual’s problem to fix any health issues afflicting them; in Social Justice terms, the individual does not always get the opportunity to fix their health issues, but they should be given one.