[tags: The Joy Luck Club Essays]

[tags: The Joy Luck Club Essays]

Like Wolff, Elizabeth Anderson argues that egalitarians believe peopleshould live in communities based on principles that “expressequal respect and concern for all citizens” (Anderson 1999,289; compare Scheffler 2003, 22,31). Unlike Wolff, however, Andersonmakes the more radical claim that (true) egalitarians have, in a way,no non-instrumental concern about distribution at all: they areconcerned about distribution only indirectly, their direct concernbeing that members of the community should stand as equals (compareScheffler 2003, 22; Anderson 2010). No doubt, to achieve this, large scaleredistribution of income, wealth, etc., might be required, but theelimination of differential brute luck per se is not. What isrequired is the ability of all to function as equal human beings incivil society and in political decision making.

Most egalitarians want to compensate people for bad brute luck but notbad option luck. Moreover, they have tended to assume that this isessentially what justice is about. Recently, this attitude has beencriticized as either leaving out of the picture an importantnon-distributive egalitarian concern or, more radically, being amisconstrual of egalitarian justice.

Second, we might say that actual as well as counterfactual levels ofeffort matter (compare Zimmerman 1993, 226). Rewards should matchaverage effort across different possible worlds. Since Claude'slevels of effort are high whatever his level of talent,Dorothy's are low whatever her level of talent, and Adam's andBeatrice's levels of effort varies with their level of talent, aluck-neutralizing distribution would leave Claude best off, Adam andBeatrice second-best off, and Dorothy worst off. The problem now isthat people who actually make the same efforts, i.e., Adam and Dorothyand Beatrice and Claude, are rewarded differently. Beatrice mightcomplain that her level of effort is as high as Claude's, andyet he gets rewarded more—and he does so, moreover, not solelyas a consequence of how he actually conducted himself, but partly as aresult of how he would have conducted himself had his level of talentbeen different from what it in fact is. When we focus on thick,responsibility control luck or thick, responsibility choice luck, itbecomes unclear whether this is the right way to neutralize luck. For,on many accounts of responsibility, what I am responsible for dependson properties of the actual sequence of events and not on what I wouldhave done in some counterfactual sequence of events in which mypersonality differs from the way it actually is. It appears that, toreconcile such thick accounts of luck with neutralizing luck on thebasis of counterfactual levels of effort, we would need to endorse aregressive conception of responsibility on which to be responsible forsomething one has to be responsible for its causes. This would solvethe problem of accounting for which distribution neutralizes luck inthat, as argued above, it now seems that the only distribution thatneutralizes luck is an equal one. However, it would also preventluck-egalitarians from claiming that people with different levels oftalent should be rewarded differently. Hence, while thenon-separability of talent and effort does not refuteluck-egalitarianism, two ways of resolving the issues it raisesgenerate further problems.

[tags: Essays on The Joy Luck Club]

In Amy Tan’s book "The Joy Luck Club," the theme of the "American Dream," which is the belief that America is a guaranteed land of opportunity, of success and happiness is the main theme in the story....

[tags: The Joy Luck Club Essays]

The concept of luck is a curious one (Dennett 1984, 92; see alsoPritchard 2005, 125–133). To avoid various pitfalls, it helps todistinguish thin and thick notions of luck (as suggested by Hurley2002, 79–80; Hurley 2003, 107–109; Vallentyne 2006, 434). To say thatsomething—whether a choice or an outcome (other than choice)(Olsaretti 2009; Scheffler 2003, 18–19)—is a matterof thin luck for someone is to say merely that this persondoes not stand in a certain moral relationship to a certain object,where such moral relationship essentially involves this individual inhis or her capacity as a rational agent. To say that something is amatter of thick luck is to say this and to commit oneself toa certain account of the non-moral properties in virtue of which thismoral relationship obtains. Accordingly, a thick concept of luck is amore specific version of the corresponding thin concept of luck. Ineither case, to say that something is a matter of luck for someone, inthe sense of “luck” that is relevant to justice, is toimply that it affects this person's interests for good or bad.

[tags: The Joy Luck Club Essays]

[tags: The Joy Luck Club Essays]

Fox writes in his book Lucky Man: A Memoir (2003), “One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered” (Fox).

[tags: The Joy Luck Club Essays]

Luck is a pervasive feature of human life (Williams 1981, 21). Itappears to arise in four main ways (Nagel 1979; Statman 1993, 11).First, the outcomes of our actions are affected by luck (resultantluck). In the mid-1990es it may have seemed prudent to take a degree incomputer science; someone who did so and completed a course justbefore the IT bubble burst unforeseeably in 2000 may rightly see her ensuingunemployment as bad resultant luck. Second, the circumstances in whichone acts introduce luck (circumstantial luck). A person who is offeredproper incentives and plenty of time to deliberate may make a wiserdecision than she would under less favorable conditions; it may be byaccident that she finds herself in the favorable conditions and hencemakes the wiser decision (but see Pritchard 2005, 254–261). Third,luck affects the kind of person you are (constitutiveluck). Genetically, some people are at greater risk of cancer throughsmoking than others, and because of this it makes sense to say thatsome smokers are lucky to avoid cancer. Finally, there is luck in theway one's actions are determined by antecedent circumstances(antecedent causal luck). Children who grow up in a stimulatingenvironment perhaps become more motivated than they would in a dullersetting; yet children rarely determine the time and place in whichthey are raised. When we add up resultant, circumstantial,constitutive, and antecedent causal luck, the area of life that isfree of luck seems to shrink “to an extensionless point”(Nagel 1979, 35; compare Parfit 1995, 10–12).


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In sum, as long as someone understands success as an ability to turn into reality some of his dreams and goals, he will have to work hard because he will need money. And his chances to earn that money will remarkably increase if he could graduate from a college and make a career. All of these things are simply not possible without hard work. Luck has no place in such a scheme of events.

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Luck that does not affect a person's interests is irrelevant fromthe point of view of justice. But luck that does—whether theinterests are characterized in terms of welfare, resources,opportunities, capabilities to achieve functionings, or in some otherway—certainly seems relevant. People who end up less well (orbetter) off than others as a result of luck often ask “Whyme?” (Otsuka 2004, 151–152). For instance, many affluentpeople, reflecting on the situation of people in developing countries,would be inclined to think that it is simply the latter's bad luck tohave been born in poor countries. They would further assume that it istheir own good luck to have been born in affluent countries, that theydo not deserve their favorable starting position, and that this makesthe inequality unjust. If those who live in developing countries werein the situation they find themselves in through their own fault, andnot victims of bad luck, no question of distributive justice wouldarise. But they are not, and it seems unfair and unjust that somepeople's prospects are worse than others' simply in virtue ofbirthplace (Caney 2005, 122; for opposing considerations see Miller2007, 56–75). The underlying assumption seems to be thatluck-affected differential standings are morally undesirable or unjust(Arneson 1989, 85; Tan 2012, 149–185; Temkin 1993, 200); butthis assumption calls for philosophical clarification. Given thepervasiveness of luck, such clarification appears to be requiredwhenever people end up unequally well off.

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Secondly, it is impossible to make a career if one is indolent and lacking knowledge, at least in developed countries. Luck plays no role in achieving this success. Even if someone was unbelievably lucky enough to become a manager not being qualified enough, he will be asked to resign in the near future because of his inability due to lack of knowledge and experience to make right decisions. For instance, I used to work for a very small company owned by a friend. This company was later closed because of bankruptcy. The cause of bankruptcy was wrong strategies and decisions made by the owner. After the failure, he went to a university and worked for another company so that he could obtain experience and become a successful businessman. Nowadays, he considers himself a successful person because he had turned into reality his two biggest dreams of producing consumer goods of high quality and making charitable donations to needy people.