Economics and justice are two things that are different, yet intrinsically intertwined. Put simply, the economy influences how people live, along with what they have. How? Of course, the economy impacts the jobs that are available and the amount of money that will be paid for doing them. As the economic crisis a few years ago showed, the graph of ups and downs can be extremely difficult to experience. More specifically, the amount of money someone has impacts the quality of life that is possible.

Here’s where justice comes in. Rather than just leave it as it is, one kind of justice–social justice–brings many people together with a common cause. There are several organizations that have missions that focus on bringing individuals and families the tools that they need to succeed. For success, organizations help others by providing information, resources, and job placement for those in need, from refugees to long-time citizens.

There are a good chunk of people who are opposed to social justice initiatives and, of course, the reason that they cite is related to money and economics, too. They believe that governmental money–cultivated from the taxes people pay–should not go toward people who don’t contribute as much to the overall pot of money.

These two perspectives illustrate the fact that economics and justice aren’t cut and dry concepts. It isn’t surprising that they’re the subject of debate, but like all the issues out there with polar opposite (and in between perspectives) it’s important to take a breath. Everyone is entitled to have different opinions, but the question is, which perspectives should have more influence on what happens?

As the United States is a democracy, it could be easy to say that the answer to the question is that the majority of an elected body can decide. But is democracy the best environment for true social justice in the face of economic issues?

In contrast to the US, the residents of Scandinavian countries experience a high quality of life, no matter what background they’re from. The murder rate is also pretty low too, which is awesome. For those people, economics and justice are pretty even on a scale.

But, at the same time, there are places where people have it way worse than Americans. Some people aren’t treated like people, and don’t have many of their basic needs met. In that case, the economics and justice scale is seriously out of balance.

At the end of the day, everyone will have different opinions on what role social justice should have in improving the lives of those that were hit hard. In the world, there are several different approaches. Perhaps the key is realizing we’re in a constant dialogue about everything, and human needs are important to address. There can be some debate about the how, but not the fact that it is incredibly important.

Economics and justice aren’t separate, and to truly understand their connection, it is essential to have respect in full force and a fledgling sense of balance should follow shortly after.