"Social Responsibility" can be defined as an obligation to do things that will enhance the welfare and interests of society at large. This term is generally used in connection with for-profit organizations and companies? and thus the term "corporate social responsibility." However, what about "Individual" or "personal" social responsibility? To some extent, the term social responsibility should be defined to include corporate as well as personal social responsibility. As CNU's mission statement points out, one of the University's goals is to foster student development through community service and giving.
According to the World Giving Index published by the Charities Aid Foundation, Korea ranked No. 81 among 153 nations that were surveyed. Interestingly, almost all our neighbors were more altruistic than us with the exception of China and Japan. The survey did not deal with the actual amounts of money that were donated by individuals, but instead about 195,000 people in 153 nations were surveyed with respect to whether or not they had made any donations to charity or volunteered or helped a stranger in the last month. The results of the aforementioned survey are rather embarrassing considering that Korea is 14th (nominal) or 12th (purchasing power parity) largest economy in the world.
We ofter look to wealthy individuals and businesses to lead charitable activities and to provide for the less fortunate. This popular belief may be rooted in our traditional system of hierarchy, where we look to the top for guidance and direction. It may also be that our moral values have been shaped by the Confucian ethos still very prevalent in Korean society today, which first and foremost, emphasizes one's familial ties (i.e., family members taking care of other family members); and as a result we tend to focus our altruistic efforts on family units as opposed to the community or society we live in.
We often blame the government for not providing more for the general welfare of its citizens. Some politicians for even using free society welfare services (i.e., free lunch for children, free health insurance, etc.) as their platform to win votes. However, there are limitations on what governments and companies can do. After all, why world you want someone to do something with money from your Pocket? Governments collect taxes from their citizens and businesses make money from none other than the consumers who buy their products or services. We must also embrace the concept of being socially responsible and give back to community and society. As with corporations, individuals must also recognize how one's behavior affects others and hold him/herself accountable for his/her actions. We must also pay a close attention to how our actions may have an impact on things and people around us, both at a local and global level.
Somebody once told me that if you really want something, give it away. We tend to get more of what we desire by giving away some of what we already have. For instance, when a farmer wants more seeds, the farmer takes the seeds and gives (plants) them to the earth. Try giving your affection and you will get affection. When you smile at others, you get smile back. When you help people out, you will receive help.
Our individual actions, although small as they may seem, can change the world!
By Kim Han-na
Prof. of Clothing & Textiles
FACULTY EDITORIAL -
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