The concept of responsibility is being used by politicians as a distraction from the real problems in society, which have to do with inequality according to research from the University of Exeter.
In the wake of the financial crisis there has been a renewed interest in issues of fairness and responsibility. The political debate about equality of opportunity, holding people responsible for their choices and helping people out when they suffer from undeserved bad luck has formed the focus of a four-year research project led by the University of Exeter.
Perceptions of fairness have a strong influence on the current debate about what sort of society we should be trying to build, according to the Arts and Humanities and Research Council (AHRC) funded research. The researchers found that over the past few decades the prevalent view is that if someone is disadvantaged by their own bad choices, then society has less of an obligation to help them out than if someone is disadvantaged by bad luck. On the other hand, if someone is advantaged by their own efforts, then they owe less back to society than someone who is advantaged through unearned good fortune. (more…)