Protect people from the consequences of their actions? Somewhat. The unpredictability of social and economic change (Prediction is Intractable) means that people who made sensible and socially approved choices may find themselves out of luck. Consider workers in the US manufacturing industries. We are also not nearly as perfect in our mental functioning as we imagine (see Positive Illusions), and tiny lapses of attention can have drastic consequences for ourselves or others (consider driving.) We may also choose government policies that protect people from the consequences of others' actions. For example, programs that benefit children of the poor (such as TANF) can be seen as protecting children.
positive illusions unpredictability consequences to others compassion, marginal utility of wealth, health costs of inequality safety net analogy