Monday, May 23, 2005

Clarification: Accountability/Responsibility

If there is any inconsistency in my desire for a more democratic sector and my views on responsibility and accountability, it is in my discomfort with the coercion that I see as implied in notions of accountability.

I'm all for a more democratic, responsible sector. I don't know that a more accountable sector would be the same thing, and, if I have to choose between them, I'll take democracy to accountability. In my view, accountability is having to answer to somebody else for one's own actions, and, to a great extent, I don't think one should have to answer for one's philanthropic choices. There's a difference between being responsible, the condition of having moral obligations, and being accountable, the condition of being held to those morals. If there is any muddying of the waters here, it's only because of the element of coercion I see in the push for greater accountability.

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