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.”
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. A society might consider shouldering some of the costs of individuals' higher education to be an acceptable tradeoff. A long, healthy life in a safe environment is a tremendous benefit to citizens. The health problems and crime associated with a less educated citizenry might cost more than education would. In that case, society might even be able to recoup some or all of the cost of providing that education. Are the tradeoffs reached by any particular society on a given issue necessarily optimal? I am not sure that can ever be known for sure. Society is complicated, and it's impossible for any individual to see the entire picture. For example, lots of people think the American way of debt is not healthy. However, if it's a social construct, is society responsible for changing it? Does social responsibility lead to a diffusion of responsibility where we all complain but no one works to change things? Food for Thought
Responsibility is a powerful concept. How do you determine when and where to draw the line?