The crucial bridge between observations and values in the study of justice is vital needs, which must be satisfied if people are going to function as human beings. A just society meets both the biological needs of all its members for water, food, shelter, and health care and the psychological needs for relatedness, competence, and autonomy. Justice does not require complete equality of wealth, income, or preference satisfaction, as long as people are equal in having their vital needs satisfied. The needs-sufficiency view of social justice has strong implications for establishing political and legal justice, including taking into account the needs of future generations. To contribute to social justice, the political system in a country needs to support the population’s vital needs. Democracy is the best available system for accomplishing this support.
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