Contemporary Social Evils
Which underlying problems pose the greatest threat to British society in the 21st century? A hundred years after its philanthropist founder identified poverty, alcohol, drugs and gambling among the social evils of his time, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation initiated a major consultation among leading thinkers, activists and commentators, as well as the wider public. Individual contributors, ranging across the political spectrum, include Sean Bailey, Zygmunt Bauman, Anthony Browne, Chris Creegan, A.C. Grayling, Neal Lawson, Anna Minton, Ferdinand Mount, Julia Neuberger, Jeremy Seabrook, Matthew Taylor and Stephen Thake. But the book also reports the results from a web survey of more than 3,500 people and a specially-commissioned consultation with groups whose voices are less often heard, including care leavers, carers, people with learning difficulties, ex-offenders, and people with experience of homelessness or unemployment. The results are eloquently and passionately expressed. They suggest that while some evils - like poverty - endure as undisputed causes of social harm, more recent sources of social misery attract controversy. Not least among them are an alleged rise in selfish consumerism driven by economic liberalization, and a perceived decline in personal responsibility and family commitment.
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views from the online consultation
Alice Mowlam and Chris Creegan
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