Responsibilities for Children in Poverty

  • Gottfried Schweiger
  • Gunter Graf
Open Access


Children in poverty are the victims of severe injustices. They suffer from deprivations in important functionings and live, thus, in a state of avoidable ill-being and of an increased likelihood of ill-becoming. In this chapter, we will now turn our attention to the question of who is responsible for securing justice for children in poverty and why. We want to examine this question in more detail than just stating that the state and its institutions are responsible or that taking care of children is primarily a task for the family. We would like to go beyond such simplified answers and show what kind of responsibilities persons, collectively and individually, and institutions, the state and other ones, have and for what reasons. The capability approach in general has not dealt often with these questions, being first and foremost a theory about the information that should be used in comparative quality-of-life assessments. It has in particular not engaged with questions of personal responsibility to achieve functionings and capabilities or for closing the door on some of them because of bad choices. Ingrid Robeyns has made the same observation and traced it back to the focus of the capability approach on global and severe poverty.

Copyright information

© Gottfried Schweiger and Gunter Graf 2015

Open Access This Chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gottfried Schweiger
    • 1
  • Gunter Graf
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Paris Lodron University of SalzburgAustria
  2. 2.International Research Centre for Social and Ethical QuestionsSalzburgAustria

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