Participants highlighted the ollowing concerns about how we seem to live our lives:
A decline of community
: communities are weak and people are increasingly isolated romtheir neighbours, at considerable cost to well-being and happiness.
: people tend to see themselves as individuals and not as part o wider society,leading to selshness and insularity.
Consumerism and greed
: an excessive desire or money and consumer goods has eclipsedvalues and aspirations rooted in relationships and communities.
A decline of values
: there is no longer a set o shared values to guide behaviour.Participants emphasised a lack o tolerance, compassion and respect shown to others.
Against this backdrop, people identied the ollowing, more concrete, social evils:
The decline of the family
: amily breakdown and poor parenting were elt to cause manyother social problems and leave young people particularly vulnerable.
Young people as victims or perpetrators
: Young people were seen as perpetrators o socialevils like anti-social behaviour, or the victims o stereotypes and limited opportunities.
Drugs and alcohol
: misuse o drugs and alcohol was viewed as the consequence andcause o many other social problems, like amily breakdown and poverty.
Poverty and inequality
: poverty was viewed as a corrosive social evil in an afuent society,underpinning other social problems, such as homelessness and amily breakdown.
Immigration and responses to immigration
: participants elt that local residents lose out toimmigrants in competition or scarce resources. Others criticised negative attitudes to andlack o support or immigrants and thought society should be more tolerant and inclusive.
Crime and violence
: people elt that Britain is more dangerous and violent than in the past.Child abuse and exploitation were highlighted as particularly damaging evils.
Government, media, big business
were believed to be responsible or these socialevils. People also emphasised
or social evils, but thought bad choices anddamaging behaviour could be symptoms o underlying social problems, such as poverty. Theyalso thought some social evils are
in current ways o living and thinking.
This summary presents the fndings o a public consultation exploringthe social evils acing Britain today. In 1904, Joseph Rowntreeidentifed what he believed were the worst social evils. The new listis the result o a web survey o 3,500 people and discussions withgroups whose voices are not usually heard. It reveals a strong senseo unease about some o the changes shaping British society.
What are today’s social evils?