Responsibility as Moral Obligation
This definition assumes that responsibility is a matter of honor or duty. According to this definition, “When someone recognizes a duty, that person theoretically commits themself to its fulfillment without considering their own self-interest.”
Moral responsibility typically assumes that individuals are in possession of free will and have a high degree of agency. Someone subscribing to the idea of moral responsibility might conclude that the moral thing to do is to pay off all individually acquired debts (1) in full, and (2) as quickly as possible - even if doing so has a negative impact on one's quality of life.
Thus, even though someone might be legally entitled to income based repayment, such a choice would be considered unethical because society ends up shouldering some of the individual borrower's burden.
Social responsibility assumes that there is a tradeoff between economic and social benefit, and tries to find balance/equilibrium between the two. For example, higher levels of education are associated with longer life. Additionally, more educated people are typically healthier and less likely to participate in criminal activity, especially violent crime.
Responsibility is a powerful concept. How do you determine when and where to draw the line?
- How do you negotiate responsibility and family?
- Should we be investing responsibly?
- What if you're willing to accept the consequences of failing to meet your responsibilities, like walking away from a bad mortgage?
- How does death impact your responsibilities?