Explore BrainMass

Individual Rights vs Social Responsibility

Please help with some ideas so that I can write a paper on Individual Rights vs. Social Responsibility.

Solution Preview

Interesting topic! Let's look at the two concepts through various sources. I also attached two supporting articles.


Should a people and corporation be socially responsible? How does this impact individual rights, or do they work together? The debate over this question can be simplified once we have reduced the issue to a pair of foundational but contrary worldviews - communitarianism and individualism (see

According Younkins (n.d, URL:, social responsibility is based on the theory or worldview of communitarianism, which posits that society is more than the sum of the individuals in it; it is organic; and it exists prior to any particular individual's existence. Thus, social responsibility "is an ethical or ideological theory that an entity whether it is a government, corporation, organization or individual has a responsibility to society. This responsibility can be "negative," in that it is a responsibility to refrain from acting (resistance stance) or it can be "positive," meaning there is a responsibility to act (proactive stance). While primarily associated with business and governmental practices, activist groups and local communities can also be associated with social responsibility, not only business or governmental entities" (

From another source:

Social responsibility is voluntary; it is about going above and beyond what is called for by the law (legal responsibility). In relation to corporations and organizations, while managers have direct obligations to stockholders and employees, they must also recognize other claimants (e.g., customers, suppliers, and the community itself from which the corporation derives its existence (e.g. individual rights). Communities and society have moral significance and rights that are at least equal to the rights of individuals (respect individual rights); therefore, social responsibility must be balanced with individual rights (

Thus, part of social responsibility is ...

Solution Summary

This solution describes and differentiates between the two concepts of individual rights and social responsibility through discussion and examples. Supplemented with two highly informative articles on social responsibility and individual rights for further expansion.