MORE than 100 years ago a philanthropist and chocolate baron set out to cure ‘great scourges of humanity’, including war, slavery and gambling. Now the charity bearing Joseph Rowntree’s name has identified the 10 ‘social evils’ of the 21st century, among them selfishness, greed and family breakdown.
After polling more than 3,500 people, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation concluded that the contemporary 10 evils were the decline of community, individualism, consumerism and greed, a decline of values, the decline of the family, young people as both victims and perpetrators, drugs and alcohol, poverty and inequality, immigration and responses to it, and crime and violence.
Among those to blame were big business, religion and the media. ‘People are concerned about the way our society has become more individualistic, greedy and selfish, seemingly at a cost to our sense of community,’ said the report. ‘The focus on greed as an issue reflects concern about the growing gulf between the rich and poor. Connected to all of these issues was the perception that we no longer share a set of common values and that we have lost our “moral compass”.’