According to Emmanuel Mounier, “the free man is the man to whom the world puts questions and who responds accordingly; he is the responsible man”. What does “being responsible” mean today? It is relatively easy to answer when it is a matter of individual behaviour, but difficulties arise when actions that concern the community come into play. Who, for example, is responsible for growing inequalities, unemployment, poverty, and climate disasters? And what will happen in a society increasingly dominated by “big data” and social networks, where smart machines can “think” and decide? In a hyperconnected and globalized world, every action is loaded with unintended – and often unimaginable – consequences. Being responsible means not only avoiding evil deeds (responsibility in terms of imputability ), but also requires acting for good and adopting market behaviours upholding responsibility in terms of caring.
Stefano Zamagni teaches Political Economy at the University of Bologna and the Johns Hopkins University.