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Justice concerns all of us

Adobe Stock / Halfpoint

We all want more justice in the world - but how? As a society, we are faced with urgent problems relating to the concept of justice: the wealth divide, global inequality, access to education, and climate justice. The more inequalities become visible, the more important the discussion about justice becomes. But the question is: How do we get there?

The wealth divide calls for a more intensive debate of the fair distribution of resources, pushing the topic of injustice into the mainstream discourse. Global inequality emphasizes the need to make decisions in terms of intergenerational justice. Access to education is central to promoting equal opportunities in the justice discourse, a concept that influences our society and cohesion. Climate justice demands the fair distribution of environmental impacts.

What role does justice play in a resilient society that offers equal opportunities and democracy? We must recognize that justice shapes us as humans and influences decisions at all levels. As a foundation, we therefore support projects that are dedicated to creating justice at various levels.

Q&A: Justice

The Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Federal Agency for Civic Education) defines justice as "the behavior of a person or a social situation that is subjectively judged to be just". Justice therefore does not mean the same thing for everyone. Furthermore, justice is "a central fundamental value and the supreme goal of the constitutional state, which must be constantly reaffirmed and reapplied as a principle of order and distribution". The meaning of justice is therefore constantly changing, and only becomes credible through the application of its principles.

Inequality arises when certain groups or individuals are systematically excluded from opportunities, resources, and/or opportunities for participation due to personal characteristics or family background. If we consider inequalities to be the result of exclusion, we quickly begin to wonder what the ideal conditions should be like - and that is a question of justice and injustice. Not only personal ideas of justice are relevant in the definition of just; norms that claim global validity, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, also have an impact. After all, access to education, healthcare, participation in cultural and social life, and social security are human rights. To summarize: Inequality describes a current state, while justice expressed the desired state.

When most people think of inequality, they first think of the distribution of money: income and wealth. Both income and wealth are indeed very unequally distributed worldwide, including Germany. In Germany, the richest 10 percent of households own over 60 percent of the country's wealth, while the poorer half of the population collectively owns just 2 percent. Worldwide, the number of billionaires and the wealth of the very richest people is increasing, while the number of those living in absolute poverty is simultaneously rising.

At the same time, money is not the only dimension of inequality. Inequalities are also characterized by the fact that not all (groups of) people in a society are recognized as having equal rights, so that some voices are not heard to an equal extent. In many contexts, this applies to women, ethnic minorities, indigenous people, and people with disabilities - this list could go on and on. Their experiences and needs are given less consideration in many societies, and therefore play a lesser role in social decision-making.

The Robert Bosch Stiftung is committed to greater justice with numerous projects in its areas of support health, education and global issues, as well as in its subsidiaries Robert Bosch Academy, iac and UWC. This involves, for example:

  • More equitable distribution of income and wealth
  • More equitable educational opportunities for all children and young people
  • Better access to health care
  • Mitigating the effects of climate change 
  • Better participation of marginalized groups in society, the economy and politics
  • Strengthening democracy

We want to contribute to creating justice and enabling all people to live in dignity and equality. We believe that it will take the combined efforts of all to achieve greater justice.

Our dossier experts

Anasuya Sengupta

Anasuya Sengupta is co-director of the "Whose Knowledge?" campaign, which focuses on the knowledge of marginalized communities.

Ferda Ataman

Ferda Ataman has been the Independent Federal Commissioner for Anti-Discrimination and Head of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency in Germany since July 2022.

Atje Drexler

As Head of Global Issues at the Robert Bosch Foundation, Atje Drexler is committed to reducing inequalities.

Dr. Ellen Ehmke

Dr. Ellen Ehmke is one of the Senior Experts in the Inequality Team at the Robert Bosch Foundation.

Dagmar Wolf

Dagmar Wolf is in charge of educational programs at the Robert Bosch Stiftung. In her research, she has focused in particular on the impact of cooperative learning.

Eva Weirich

Weirich is a consultant for health and care at the Gesundheitskollektiv. The health collective supports people who are confronted with challenges in the healthcare system.

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