An essay on moral responsibility in a global age

Jennifer Marie Collins, Fordham University


This paper discusses how global social welfare goals might be modified to reflect a commitment to moral reciprocity instead of individual rights. It examines holistic moral development in a global age and notes that a change in knowledge structures has changed the focus from love to justice. It presents a sympathetic critique of the existing human rights-social justice paradigm that has been adopted by the social work profession as a legislative guideline of moral responsibility. Although the United Nations Human Rights regime and most local human rights initiatives have been embraced anecdotally as both progressive and at least somewhat successful, this paper analyzes this "success" by examining political, economic, cultural, and philosophical factors which have slowed, alloyed, or completely frustrated the attempts of "human-rights talk" to achieve its goals of social welfare. The critique is based on insights gleaned from developmental psychology and philosophy that reveal an alternative paradigm of peace-love has been historically more adaptive. It explores the development of inner peace and love as presented in religious and secular philosophy and finds that they are prerequisites to personal responsibility and moral reciprocity. A new framework for the peace-love paradigm is proposed based on the construct of spiritual competence.

Subject Area

Religion|Philosophy|Peace Studies|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Collins, Jennifer Marie, "An essay on moral responsibility in a global age" (2014). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI1569128.