14 December 2011

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Despite Facebook Making Us All "Social" On The Street We're More Misanthropic Than Ever!

Social media, that is platforms which let you keep in touch with friends you never see, people you don’t know and add likes or +1s to articles which briefly held your interest makes us think that we’re all becoming so much more in tune with the rest of society and the world on the whole. Facebook has umpteen gazillion accounts, Egyptian Facebook is looking forward to her first Christmas and the first Christmas in Egypt since the Arab Spring. And yet, when we’re out on the streets, we’re less caring and lovely than ever.

The funny thing is that Britons today are seemingly less socially engaged or willing to give up their time and money for their brother man than they have been in recent years. British Social Attitudes have published a report which says that we, as a nation, are less likely to accept housebuilding in our area and less likely to make personal or financial sacrifices to protect the environment. (Except of course campaigning against housebuilding in our local areas.) Along with this we’re less inclined to pay more for hospitals and schools. Ten years ago 43% said that they would be prepared to spend more on ethical goods to save the environment, today that figure is just over half at 26% although that could be because people just don’t have the luxury of choice when it comes to shopping ethically to save the planet.

We’re all feeling the squeeze, or at least 99% of us are anyway and that’s almost all of us, and that 99% feel that they’re already paying enough for the services that we receive. If students have to stump up their own tuition fees and teachers aren’t getting payrises and pensions and there are ever fewer of them, how come we have to pay more?

On the plus side, people are waking up to the realisation that the government is ineffectual and unable to do anything directly to change things for the better. We vote for them, they tax us for the privilege but it’s still down to us to change things. Support for increases in taxes to prop up the NHS and schools is now a mere half of what it was ten years ago. Then 63% of people polled said that more taxes for more healthcare and education was a good thing, now it’s only 31%.

British Social Attitudes has been reporting on such opinions for almost three decades now and this year also fount that three quarters of the population think that the income gap is too wide but only just over one third think that it’s up to the coalition to do something about redistributing the wealth. However, and somewhat paradoxically more than half of the people surveyed thought that unemployment benefits were too high and acted as an obstacle to the jobless finding work. Today 54% feel that way compared with 35% who shared that point of view in 1983 when the survey was first conducted.

About Today's Contributor:

@DanCash is a features writer and blogger living by the sea in sunny England. Many of the attitudes are brought about by financial circumstances. People with bad credit scores find credit cards hard to get and advertising at Christmas time only reminds them of the opportunities for shopping they are missing. If they could improve their credit rating they could go out and buy all the presents their families expect and peace would be restored throughout the land.

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