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Justice as Equality

Michael Manley’s Caribbean Vision of Justice

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Anna Kasafi Perkins

Justice as Equality makes a unique contribution to the philosophical and intellectual tradition of the English-speaking Caribbean by exploring the theory of justice underpinning the life, work, and writings of former Prime Minister of Jamaica and renowned Third World Statesman the late Michael Manley (1924-1997). Manley’s singular Caribbean vision of justice was forged in a post-colonial context that he described as being too radically disfigured by inequalities to be improved by «mere tinkering». This book posits that equality has become unfashionable in social analysis and contemporary politics, in part due to the increased significance of values such as identity, diversity, and difference, in tandem with a misunderstanding of the concept of equality. It argues for a reclaiming of a multi-faceted and complex way of understanding equality in light of Manley’s thought. Through an engagement with the norms of justice developed within the Catholic social teaching tradition, this book examines, clarifies, and deepens Manley’s Caribbean account of «justice as equality». Manley’s theory is a deeply relational theory one of justice and equality that roots fundamental human equality in the relationship to divine transcendence. It calls for the dismantling of all relationships of oppression and domination that result when the fundamental equality of all human beings is disregarded. It takes account of the multiple dimensions of the human person, and calls a society ‘just’ when it allows for the flourishing of every member, specifically through full participation in the life of the society.