Peter King is Reader in Social Thought at De Montfort University (


This paper explores the issue of responsibility and links it to the concept of capability. The paper begins by looking at what it means to be responsible and connects this to the now common distinction in public policy between blame and task. It is argued that responsibility should be internalised rather than externalised and placed in the hands of the state. This can be done through the extension of property rights and so the paper offers a brief justification for the link between responsibility and property rights. The final part of the paper considers the ideas of capability and competence and uses these to argue for the placing of personal responsibility at the heart of public policy.