Chapter

Reflections on social evils and human nature

Matthew Taylor

in Contemporary social evils

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9781847424099
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301981 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847424099.003.0018
Reflections on social evils and human nature

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The greatest evil is society's retreat in the face of rampant individualism. The public leans towards behavioural rather than structural accounts of social fragmentation, with the poorest — perhaps reflecting their own day-to-day experiences — most inclined to highlight pathologies like criminality, drug use and family breakdown. Social pessimism is seen as an aspect of modernity only to the extent that there are higher expectations and the opportunity exists to wallow in doubts. A theory of affluence and its discontents, a theory of human development and transition, an account of the fundamental forms of social relations are investigated. The conditions between the end of the Depression and the end of the Second World War created the right context and encouraged the right techniques for a hierarchical orientation to become dominant in the succeeding decades. The human race has made great strides. But progress has been interspersed with error and tragedy.

Keywords: social evils; human nature; reflection; individualism; criminality; drug use; family breakdown; affluence; human development

Chapter.  4351 words. 

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