CEOs and social workers all think the same if you ask me. Take some random ned called Wee Tommy up for the umpteenth time for joyriding or what have you. Anyway, you know some social worker will trot out the usual wet liberal line about how this individual’s behaviour was the product of a given set of socio-economic conditions.
Now take Sir Fred Goodwin in front of the Treasury Select Committee on the issue of personal responsibility; “it is just too simple if you want to blame it all on me. If you want to blame it all on me and close the book, that will get the job done very quickly, but it does not go anywhere close to the cause of all of this."
Well I guess there is one difference between Wee Tommy and Sir Fred, Sir Fred is perfectly capable of saying it wisnae me it was the socio-economic environment all by himself.
Except, how plausible is that? For one thing thats determinism that is which is morally suss because it denies individuals free will. For another, it’s theoretically naïve because if conditions determined every outcome then everything subject to those conditions would turn out the same, but as we know full well not every ned is up on charges and not every bank is getting bailed out by government.
So individual decisions clearly matter. Besides, if a CEO’s deliberate actions aren’t a key determinant of corporate performance, good and bad, then why exactly do they get paid shed loads of cash? Either Sir Fred was being too modest or alternatively, had been taking all that cash for providing “game-changing leadership” on false grounds.
As for Wee Tommy, my view of determinism is that we all make our own decisions, just in circumstances not of our choosing, a formula that allows me to say he’s simply a bad wee bastard. Or am I still talking about Sir Fred?