Distance was used to help reduce or alleviate moral/ethical responsibility, this “distance was created through the total dehumanization of the victims” (Rendtorff 2014, p.54)
Exploitation and dehumanization to create profit is the basis of our socioeconomic inequalities and injustices.
“implied a forced collaboration between victims and perpetrators. The perpetrators made victims cooperate through the threat of further harm.” (Rendtorff 2014, p.48)
To render the humanity of victims invisible one needs merely to evict them from the universe of social obligation. To make them ‘the other’ and thereby ‘not us.’ In creating these socially constructed divisions we can increase the emotional, intellectual, and physical distance with other peoples, which in turn reduces our feelings of personal or societal moral responsibility for them or their circumstances.
In truth most horrors in modern life have been accomplished through a multitude of minute routine acts, and inconsequential actors with a large measure of time and/or distance between their choices or actions and the effects thereof effectively shielding them from the outcomes and consequences of those actors’ sight.
Acting altruistically means to intervene on behalf of a victim (Perlstadt, 2013)
The more physical or emotional distance between an act and its outcome creates a state of moral suspension reducing inhibitions towards unethical/immoral actions. Most socially significant actions involve a long chain of complex causal and functional dependencies. This distancing creates a moral blindness, and lowers the opportunity of moral recognition and debate, meaning no moral decision can be said to have taken place.