The Intersection of Duty and Inflation: A Moral and Social Perspective

Lucas Charbonnier

Hatched by Lucas Charbonnier

Oct 02, 2023

3 min read


The Intersection of Duty and Inflation: A Moral and Social Perspective

In a time where inflation rates have risen by 15% due to the war in Ukraine, major retailers like Carrefour and Leclerc have extended their anti-inflation campaign. This measure aims to alleviate the financial burden on consumers caused by the escalating prices of goods on the shelves. However, beyond the realm of economics, the concept of duty holds a significant role in shaping our actions and decisions.

Duty is often defined as a self-imposed obligation, stemming from either moral or social values. When viewed from a moral standpoint, duty represents the actions we demand of ourselves based on moral principles that we hold above all else. These invisible acts, driven by prudence, conformity, and perhaps even hypocrisy, reflect our adherence to Kant's concept of the "categorical imperative" – a universal unconditional commandment that every moral being should strive to help a child in danger when capable. Acting out of duty, devoid of personal inclinations or the fear of punishment and desire for rewards, demonstrates a true commitment to morality.

On the other hand, duty can also be seen as a social obligation or conformity. Throughout our lives, we internalize these societal expectations, known as "socialization," forming our collective conscience or "social superego." This adherence to group morality, termed conformity, ensures the cohesion of the community. However, with multiple societies and groups, conflicting duties arise, pitting social obligations against moral duties. This stark contrast between social and moral duty lies in the universalizability of moral duty – it applies to all human beings, transcending the boundaries of specific groups. Moral duty is not imposed by society but is freely embraced. It promotes the absolute worth of individuals, derived from the equal dignity of all human beings. True duty is what we owe to others as our equals.

Understanding the intersection of duty and inflation sheds light on the complexities of our actions and choices. While retailers extend their anti-inflation measures out of duty to consumers, the moral duty of individuals urges them to act with empathy and fairness towards others. The moral duty to alleviate the burden of inflation falls upon both retailers and consumers alike.

In light of this discussion, we can draw three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Embrace a sense of moral duty: Recognize the importance of acting based on personal moral principles rather than external influences. Strive to help others, even when it may not be socially expected or convenient.
  • 2. Challenge societal conformity: Question the societal norms and expectations that may hinder your ability to fulfill your moral duty. Reflect on the values that truly matter to you and align your actions accordingly.
  • 3. Advocate for economic fairness: In the face of rising inflation, raise awareness and demand fair pricing practices from retailers. Hold them accountable for their duty to consumers, ensuring that the burden is not disproportionately placed on those already struggling.

In conclusion, the extended anti-inflation measures by major retailers bring attention to the intersection of duty and inflation. Duty, whether moral or social, plays a vital role in shaping our actions and decisions. By recognizing the universalizability of moral duty and challenging societal conformity, we can navigate the complexities of our responsibilities in times of economic uncertainty. Moreover, advocating for economic fairness ensures that duty is not only upheld by individuals but also by the institutions that serve them. Ultimately, fulfilling our duty to others as equals remains indispensable in a world where empathy and love for one another are still striving to manifest fully within us.

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