questionsdoes privilege equal social responsibility?


The fact that you even have to ask this question says volumes. Those of us who grew up in the 60s/70s saw no other way, it was a moral imperative.


@olperfesser: Ditto. My grandma made sure that I know right from wrong and to help others in need.


Most billionaires already donate large sums to charities.

Now the point needs to be made that they are should not be forced to. It's their money, they should be able to do what they want with it.

The middle class people still have mortgages on their house and are not sufficiently funded for their retirement. You cannot rely on social security alone. I would venture a guess that 90% or more of people live day to day meaning if they get a large bonus from work, they will go on an extravant vacation instead of paying off their credit cards or mortgage.


@olperfesser: I'm not sure if your "had to ask" comment was an insult to me, or a commentary on society. Either wasn't necessary.

What I mean is not donating money - that happens. I mean, if given the choice between grocery shopping at Walmart or the local farm - when the farm costs much more - where does your dollar go? If you can afford the higher price to support your community, is that where you're obligated to spend it? That's the social responsibility I'm asking about. The question is more one of balancing being a "good consumer" while being a good community member. Which I don't think happens as often as it should and wanted to ask the varied people here.


I don't think there's an obligation to support local business just as a matter of course. What if the local businesses are harder to get to or have difficult hours? What if they have bad business practices, poor customer service, treat their employees poorly, etc? What if the big box alternatives are more socially responsible companies with better prices, better service and better business practices?

Also, what if a person who is assumed to be wealthy already donates a significant portion of their income to charity. Perhaps they feel more called to support a religious cause or help out an animal shelter or give to a crisis pregnancy center. Why would financially supporting worthy causes of those sort be viewed more highly than financially supporting local businesses?

It's certainly nice to support local businesses when they deserve it. But I do not think anyone is obligated to. And I do not think how a person spends their money is really the business of anyone else.


I try to shop local when it's practical. Success of others in my community aids in my own success. It isn't charity, it's enlightened self interest, like paying taxes for schools to educate other people's kids when I have none of my own. Eventually those kids will grow up to be the people who take care of me in my old age, even though they aren't my own kids. But I also think there's a broader moral obligation to help those less fortunate than ourselves. I would hazard to say that there's no one in the world that hasn't at some point benefited in at least a small way from the kindness of strangers. Treating one another with compassion and respect is the only way so many of us will ever be able to successfully live so close to one another.


Naw there's no obligation. It comes down to who provides the better value. Some local farmers have better produce, so I'll use them. Some don't, so I'll go to a big box. The onus isn't on the buyer, who's looking for the best value purchase, the onus is on the supplier to do the best they can to provide the best value.

Customers value different things, so some might weigh the cheap more heavily than the quality, and vice versa. To me that seems like a preference, not an obligation.


No. I have no obligation to anyone aside myself and my family.


In this day and time I am obligated to take care of my own. Given the opportunity, I will occasionally help out someone local, but I'm not sure that I fall into the "privileged" category. I follow my moral compass.


Privilege and wealth are very different things. Privilege is given to you and is not necessarily earned. I think someone who earned everything they have is under less of an obligation than a trust-fund baby.

Also, just because an economy is local doesn't give it moral superiority. If I grew up in the opium fields of Afghanistan and made something of myself through legal means despite the environment I wouldn't feel obligated to support the local drug warlords or even the poor farmers who grow the drugs because they feel they have no other options.