Rawlsian Justice and poverty Reduction In southern Sudan
This thesis deals with three independent but interconnected themes. The first theme is John Raw!s' Philosophy of Justice. The second theme is the problem of poverty in Southern Sudan. The third theme is the Policies and Work Plans of Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) - and the related projects of Non-governmental Organizations and agencies - aiming at reducing poverty in Southern Sudan. These themes comprise the elements of the hypothesis that: Firm philosophical foundation of Rawlsian Justice is the missing link in the intentions of the Government of Southern Sudan for Poverty Reduction. Thus, the objectives of the thesis are to apply Rawlsian Justice as the philosophical framework for the policies and action plans of the Government of Southern Sudan and to conscientise its employees on the value of this type of justice for poverty reduction. Rawlsian Justice basically prescribes that a fair structure of the basic instit!Jtions of human societies should always be in place for the sake of peace, stability, development and prosperity in the world. This should start with equal distribution of the primary goods, especially to the least privileged members of human societies but without shifting poverty to the privileged members. Hence, Rawls was against unjust practices like slavery, colonialism, racism, minority oppression, gender bias, and foreign wars and invasions, some of which were justified by some good-based philosophical tenets - Utilitarianism, Teleological Perfectionism, Ethical Egoism and Rational Intuitionism. Rawls critiqued these philosophies (particularly Utilitarianism) and developed his 'rightbased' Liberal Egalitarianism as an alternative philosophy of justice, peace and development for the contemporary world. He supported this new philosophy with some elements of Classical Contractarianism and Deontological Constructivism, which valued the primacy of the rational choice for equality of the dignity of every human person and decency of every human community through liberty of righteous conscience. He summarized this philosophy into "Two Principles of Justices as Fairness" and their corollary; the Eight Principles of ''The Law of Peoples." Notwithstanding, Rawlsian philosophy has been critiqued by some philosophers, academicians and professionals for different reasons. These critical debates revitalized the fundamental questions about human societies and the search for sustainable solutions to human predicaments within the continuous History of Political Philosophy. And even with the critique, Rawlsian Justice has stood its ground as a relevant philosophy for poverty reduction because of its special focus on improvement of life quality and opportunities for the poor people without contempt to the rich ones. Having examined Rawlsian Philosophy in details, the author of this thesis used it as a theoretical framework for analyzing and explaining the phenomena of poverty in Southern Sudan, especially the efforts exerted by the GoSS to reduce its prevalence. The author applied a combination of descriptive, analytical and prescriptive methods to test the hypothesis qualitatively. He found out from the documented policies and action plans of the GoSS and from the views of its employees that Rawlsian Justice is the missing or the weak link in the policies and actions against poverty in Southern Sudan. Majority of employees in the GoSS accepted Rawlsian Justice as a solution to poverty. In the conclusion and summary of the thesis, the author recommends the application of Rawlsian Justice as the suitable philosophical foundation for enhancing equitable public policies actions aimed at poverty reduction, sustainable development, durable peace and human prosperity in Southern Sudan. He also recommends that poverty and equity studies like Rawlsian Justice be made part of development studies in higher learning and research institutions in Southern Sudan.