Justice - Is that fair?

The fat salary increase of the colleague, the third speeding ticket in a month: Where does justice begin and where does it stop?

What is justice?

"That's unfair, " Lisa complains. Arms on her hips, the seven-year-old builds up in front of her mother. "I'm one year older than Jonas and always have to go to bed at the same time!" She scolds. "We already had the subject, " answers Lisa's mother annoyed. "Even when you're older, you both need just as much sleep." On this subject, she treated both offspring the same, which Lisa feels a blatant injustice. Who is right? And what is justice in the first place?

Innumerable scholars have dealt with this question - from theologians, sociologists to politicians. No one has found a clear answer. Because they do not exist, not even true justice. Nevertheless, psychologist Juliane Kärcher, who holds a degree in psychology, knows that "justice is a deeply human need and a central value that guides many people."

Injustice makes you ill

Finnish scientists have found that those who feel wronged, even physically suffer: The risk of heart attack increases. "All social discussions are basically about justice, " explains Dr. Rainer Erlinger, doctor, lawyer and Germany's "conscience pope". This begins with the recognition of same-sex marriage and goes up to the amount of child benefit.

matter of opinion

Even in everyday life, away from the political events, the views are often far apart, what is just and what is not. For example, is it fair for the baby's nest to receive more birthday gifts than the older children? Should the husband still work in the household after the job, even though he has at least eight hours of work under his belt? Is it fair for the well-heeled manager to win the lottery?

Justice has many facets, depending on culture and epoch, it is interpreted quite differently. What is considered fair today and here can be unfair tomorrow or elsewhere - it depends entirely on the point of view. The wife retaliates for her husband's infidelity by carting his beloved motorcycle to the junk dealer. In their view, a just punishment, from his certainly not.

And for the bad grade in math no pocket money to get more, children usually just mean. If justice is so complex, how can one avoid being unfair to one's partner, family, friends or colleagues?

Most of them are about things being fairly distributed. Who should get how much money, time or attention, so that nobody is disadvantaged in the end?

Guidance is provided by psychology, which distinguishes the principle of equality, need and contribution:

  • The principle of equality is based on the motto "everyone the same". In one class, all students brood over the same test questions. And in a partnership, everyone gets a birthday present from the other or both agree to give up on presents.
  • The need principle focuses on the different needs of each individual. In this way, family life usually works. So a baby gets more attention than a teenager. And if two out of ten employees can not cope with the new software, they can not or do not have to go to training - their colleagues do not.
  • The contribution principle takes into account the achievements of each individual. If one has worked alone on a project, it is unfair, even if the colleagues praise for it. And if the mother-in-law keeps the grandsons every Saturday, she deserves a greater gift than the father-in-law, who rarely feels like it.
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