'I am on the side of the underdog', writes Brian Barry in this lively contribution to current political debate. For Barry, the idea of social justice is essential to the kind of radical and systematic critique of the domestic and global status quo that is needed.Barry sets out what social justice means and explains why it either has universal scope or is worth nothing. In a strong attack on almost the entire corpus of contemporary political philosophy, he maintains that the fashionable arguments against the universal reach of principles of justice are devoid of merit. Barry is equally scathing about the leadership of New Labour and its political hangers-on, such as the members of the so-called Commission on Social Justice, who have done their best either to suppress or subvert the idea. He argues that the present period is, nevertheless, a time of opportunity brought about by the increasing instability of the international economic and political order and by growing opposition to the selfish short-sightedness of the world's richest countries. The book concludes by sketching some implications of the idea of social justice for three questions: the obligations of the present generation to future ones, the distribution of resources within the world as a whole and the demands of equal treatment and equality of opportunity in culturally diverse societies.