“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.”
— George Bernard Shaw
I created the table below to illustrate a few of the ways that people think about responsibility. The first use actually address the difference between responsibility and accountability. Accountability is liability, and demands some sort of response. You can be responsible by being accountable.
The “it’s not me” notion of responsibility is often used as the excuse for not doing the right thing. It often takes courage to avoid using this excuse, because it can mean risking an asset or a privilege that you currently have.
To think of responsibility as a social contract is supposedly what we are doing in a democracy. Of course, the idea that democracy is primarily about competition rather than cooperation often keeps social responsibility from being a primary consideration.