The Difference between Justice and Equality


 a important point which should be pointed out in this lesson is that sometimes justice is confused with equality so that the meaning of justice becomes “equality should be maintained,” when this is not so.

Equality is not a condition for justice. Rather, rights and priorities must be considered. As an example, justice in a classroom of students is not that they all receive equal grades and justice between two workers is not that they receive equal wages. Rather, justice is that each student should be graded according to his knowledge and ability and each worker be judged according to his work and activity.

In the world of nature also, justice in the extensive sense means just this. The heart of a whale, which weighs one ton, cannot be compared to the heart of a sparrow, which is perhaps not more than one gram in weight. If they were equal in size, there would be no justice. Similarly, if the roots of a very tall tree were equal in size to the roots of a small plant, this is not justice but is equivalent to oppression. Justice is that every creature receives its rights in proportion to its abilities and needs. In other words, justice is not equality but equity.