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Traditionally speaking, distributive justice strives for fairness of the distribution of rights and obligation as well as the goods and duties, on the basis of one of the three fundamental principles: equal distribution to everyone (upon the basis of being part of humanity in general) to everyone based on their performance (measurable on the basis of certain additional criteria) to everyone according to their needs (which are entirely subjectively expressed)
The trinity of the distributed justice repeatedly provokes the theoretical but primarily great practical difficulties, since the crucial assumption of each and the same practical reasoning, its continual encounter with poverty in which the satisfaction of the subjective “ justified” is in truth feasible merely under the condition of introducing trans-subjective level of legitimising of distribution (which in specific case (3) abolish itself by accepting the laid out principle).
The authoritative constructions of the political systems of our time are essentially distinct especially on the basis of the underlying interpretation of distribution of justice, which was the basis of the complete institutional “superstructure”. The capitalist system essentially accepted the variant (2), while the real socialism /communist system took as the starting point that (1) generally enables the correct legitimate order.
The transitional praxis in the post communist states - it could be said - revealed empirically how the Rawls’ methodical presumption in reality untenable is, though that what he calls “the veil of ignorance” (taken over from John Harsany) as the description of the state in the transition in the year 1989/1990 is not completely unacceptable. Numerous former subservient spirits - so suddenly found themselves in the position of citizens- appeared unable to consistently comprehend the advantage as well as the threat . When they found themselves in the quasi Rawls situation, very few opted for the theoretically preconditioned “Maximin view”.

“Maximin view”
Within the range of the Rawls conception, as it is known, the entire deduction starts with the statement of the presupposed principle of equality. That is: complete social goods have to be distributed equally except in the case when the unequal distribution would be to the advantage of everybody. As typical for the basis of the view of life, the Rawls’ analyses has been focused on the position of the group which in the fictive system would be inferior (only at first glimpse a paradox principal (1) is corrected exactly in the name of equalising all members of the society). On exactly this group, in the specific experiments of thought, is tested whether the entire imaginative construction corresponds to the set targets. Only if in this way imagined the most underprivileged group under the conditions of unequal distribution comes off better solely in that case it should be preferred to the theory of equality. In the modern society of abundance (more precise: in the so called part of the modern world)-the one Rawls presumably aims at - takes this argument structure more complex forms, since the single person and groups are confronted with the various different goods which have dissimilar grade of importance for each single person or for each of the groups.
On the basis of this Rawls divides the basic social goods in three classes according to their importance. These are as follows: the basic freedoms (economical, personal, intellectual and political), the opportunity to climb to the desired social position, income and health. Consequently, the basic principle is divided into three points: the principle of the greatest equality of freedom, the principle of fair equality of chances, the principle of differences. The principle of the equal freedom has the advantage against all the others, since in this context it means the possibility of all to enjoy the freedom in the so called “ welfare liberalism”, that is in the system which is striving to bring into harmony the basics of liberalism with several interpreted creations of the so called welfare states.

“Original situation”
These principles presumably fit well to those, which- as the basis of the future society - would be chosen by the people in a pre-social state, in the so called “original situation”.
With - trying to find the way to correct the utilitarian methodical conditions- this theory falls back to one of the fundamental postulates of the theories of social contract, characteristic for the political theory of modernism (for reciprocally so different authors as Grotius, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant and others).
Furthermore, particularity of Rawls’ idea is in the starting point that people in their original situation do not chose only the principles of order of the future society, which would have an impact on the basic social contract, which would have an impact on the way of the procedure, but that procedure of selecting these principles itself corresponds to the contents of the postulation of these principles. It has been known for ages that it can be attained in cases when either it is presumed that the subjects are in their initial state unquestionably good or grope in the dark regarding their future possible position in the society in making.
In the second case - reasonable for Rawls - is removed the exaggerated strict precondition of natural rationality and morality from within, the guaranteed precondition of the original negotiators on the future order, since they are by the procedure, from the outside forced to the fair behaviour. Roughly speaking, they find themselves in the position of a man who is given a task on a birthday party to cut the birthday cake and is aware that he will get the last slice, what forces him automatically to cut the cake on as much as possible identical slices, so that he would not be deprived (the only condition is, naturally that he really likes the cake, and since in the Rawls' example it concerns the totality of the social goods to which everybody is in one way or the other attached).
Rawls terms this described quality of the original negotiators - unawareness of their future destiny in the society - “the veil of ignorance”. Moreover, these negotiators are even not aware of their own interest still they are aware of the generally possible interest in the future social order.
Therefore they will strive for the position which the most adequate or the least inadequate, for the all possible interests (under the condition, of course that they care more for the security than for risk). Apparently, this is not the option which presumes the rational behaviour of people theory which consists of maximising some of the concrete interests, but strategy which Rawls names maximin, strategy of maximising the minimal, it means maximising the worst position against each of the social goods. In this way, only somewhat differently, the equality as the precondition for social system on the principles of fairness is guaranteed.
This caution that Rawls presumes as certain strategy of people in the original state, which will lead them inevitably to the acceptance of the maximin principle, actually is just corrective quality comparing to the initially presupposed, strictly speaking the greed (inasmuch it deliberates this, socially selective, though, emphasises the third of the introductory principles). The combination of these two features will lead the subjects, who in the original state only reconcile the principles of the future society, to act extremely cautiously with the intention to improve their own situation in the most possible inconvenient circumstances. Such a hypothesis on the inevitable rationality of action of people who are ignorant of their own social relevant characteristics, can in the meantime run into difficulties, if it is taken into consideration that they are prepared to take high risks, inclination to gambling, which is obviously in contradiction to the Rawls’ idea of rationality.

Impossible “maxi-maxi”
In the post communist state the majority opted for something, what presented itself (understandably enough illusory) as some kind, of course, in reality impossible, “maxi-maxi”. It crossed the minds of many the following:” I dare to go to the free market, I am capable enough to translate into action all my qualities, I have lived long enough under the political and ideological pressure of the old regime, and now it is time for my potentials (oriented to the market) to become reality.” It is meant for the market of goods as well as the market of ideas. Under this circumstances the theory is very often not only ignored but also objectively inapplicable- furthermore - the sovereignty of a person is popularly interpreted as something that leaps of the general principles. Nevertheless, abating of the collective liberation euphoria and the pressure of permanent misery of everyday life bring back on the stage claims for the rationalisation. But as a rule they are linked to the state action.
Of the state is expected (particularly due to the fact that in the post communism, in the ethnic sense, the state should have became “our”) the introduction of the fair distribution. But, its undertaking principles start (continuously not illuminated, still in the dark) to be taken into consideration only than (expressed in taxes) when the price of distribution stares in the eyes of all. And at that point it is in many ways too late.

Žarko Puhovski is proffesor of political philosophy at University of Zagreb.