Different people believe that personal responsibility plays a greater or lesser role in determining a person’s economic situation. Some people say that personal choices are paramount while others say that our choices are much less important than the environment in which we live.
To some people, our circumstances almost determine our economic situation. If we happen to be born middle class with parents who give us lots of support in our education and careers, we are likely to be relatively well-off. If, by contrast, we are born into a broken family and we live in a neighborhood where the schools are really bad, we are much less likely to get ahead.
To other people, however, personal responsibility is much more important. They argue, for example, that the person born into poverty still makes their own choices. They choose whether to do their best in school. They choose whether to commit crimes or join gangs. By doing these things, they determine whether they will transcend their environment.
Thus, it is clear that personal responsibility is important to some degree in determining our economic situations, but it is not clear exactly how much of a role it plays.