Desert and Legitimate Expectation


Desertand Legitimate Expectation

Inthis article, Rawls argues about Desert, legitimate expectations, anddeservingness as common sense precepts. He states that wealth,income, and good things in life should be distributed justly basingon the moral desert. He barely says that justice is happinessaccording to virtue, but justice as fairness does not agree with thisidea (Rawls &amp Kelly, 2001).

Rawlsputs more relevance on legitimate expectations rather than desert.Legitimate expectations are the promises that bring incentives to thecollectively appropriate behaviors, and they should be provided oncethe behavior is displayed, unlike desert, which is, more of a rewardin case of moral merit (Rawls &amp Kelly, 2001). He asserts that incase people have faithfully followed the rules of just institutionsthen they are entitled to what those agencies say they will receive.Rawls continues to say that deservingness is another notion that isconspicuous between legitimate expectations and desert. In legitimateexpectations, just institutions give incentives when a particularbehavior is exhibited thus the just systems encourages deservingness(Voice, 2011). However, through bad luck, one can fail to acquire anincentive as entitled to the rule and the difference comes in. On theother hand, in accord with the precept of the desert, the differenceis that justice is supposed to be defined regarding desert whiledeservingness is defined regarding justice.

Rawlstries to justify his argument and brings out the significance. Hesays that the house of distributive justice cannot be built on a sandfoundation of moral desert unless the desert has other grounds.First, he describes three factors that ground desert, one beingcontributions, he says that contributions will depend more onindividual factors and no one deserves the incentives basing on whatthey can contribute. Second is effort, which also depends on nativetalent and there is no tangible way to discount that. Third, he talksof just behaviors, which he says they can be in vicious circles(Rawls &amp Kelly, 2001).

Accordingto the precept, justice is a rewarding desert but looking at thepresent suggestion, the desert is doing what justice requires.Meaning an independent concept of justice is essential to the preceptof the desert comes. Second, Rawls justifies his argument that basicneeds are required to meet justice and desert has nothing to do withthat. Third, it is not possible for citizens to agree on theparticular doctrine that can fully support the idea of the moraldesert for positive intentions resulting in the incompatible notionof what is right (Voice, 2011).

Inmy view, there is a strong objection here. What exactly is meant tohappen to those who put all their efforts in cultivating and workinghard to perfect their talents? Do they deserve rewards for their hardwork and constant strive for their achievements? Suppose desert isinsisted as the first principle stating that people should receiveequal rewards in life in accord with their efforts or hard work thatis meticulously put forth.

Unfortunately,Rawls says there is no concrete way to differentiate the particularefforts that can be accredited from the element of meticulous hardwork because of favorable circumstances. What can be justifiablyendorsed is disheveled to positive factors of good luck andabsolutely no credit can be endowed to such efforts. The idea ofrewarding desert is unfeasible. Rawls could have added that in otherdemocracies, diverse notions of how people should deserve stood to bedifferent and disappointingly, not even one that is agreeable.


Rawls,J., &amp Kelly, E. (2001). Justiceas fairness: A restatement.Cambridge, Mass: Belknap.

Voice,P. (2011). Rawlsexplained: From fairness to Utopia.Chicago: Open Court.