By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Right Social Justice: Better ways to help the poor
Edited by Gary Johns (Connor Court Publishing, $29.95, softcover, 200 pages)
It is not easy to deliver social justice, but it’s important to realise that helping the ‘underprivileged’ is not clear-cut.
Discussing the concept of social justice, this latest compilation of essays from numerous authors enables Gary Johns to discuss “a better way to help ‘the poor’.”
In an effort to understand its impact on public policy, the Associate Professor of Public Policy, Public Policy Institute, Australian Catholic University, asked some of the best observers of the welfare state in Australia, and its associated programs, to explore the theory.
The result is astute essays that provide the “basis for a major reconsideration of social justice as a rationale for the welfare state it is the right time to ask if there are better ways to help the poor and, indeed, if there are enough policy levers to put everything right”.
The former politician says the contributers “have responded with insightful and erudite papers. The results will open the field to fresh rigorous examination of social policy”.
“Most would question the right of government to decide our fate. Others are more disposed to the welfare state yet question the current plethora of programs developed in the name of ‘doing good’.”
Right Social Justice is organised in two parts: four thematically longer essays pose some fundamental questions including when too much social justice is never enough and each of the shorter essays canvas a particular program or policy said to assist the disadvantaged looking at strategies including ‘Closing the Gap’.
Giving assistance is a ‘good thing’, but only if programs to assist them are effective and if others are not made poor in the process.
Invariably over-stated in its approach, social justice is said to be a belief, not a guide to public policy. This judicious collection strives to find better ways to help those in dire hardships.
Edition 317, 12 June 2012
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.