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There Is No Such Thing as Society

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Submitted By SH7979
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Did Thatcher break society and can the big society concept fix it?
Stephen Hunt
Politics With Marketing Management
1st May 2012

Contents
Page
2 ‘There is no such thing as society’
4 Thatcher in power
12 Labour and the big crash
15 the Big society concept
22 Conclusion
25 Bibliography

‘There is no such thing as society’
‘There is no such thing as society;’ this one sentence spoken by Margaret Thatcher in an interview to woman’s own in 1987 was seen by her many critics as capturing the essence of her political mission. They believed that she wanted to remove the sense of community in Britain. The Thatcher ethos was seen as negativity towards the state’s role in people’s lives that it was up to each individual to look after him or herself. The Thatcher era was seen by many as about winners and losers, the winners were well rewarded with lower taxes, a property boom, rising wages, opportunities to purchase council houses and shares in the privatized companies at discount rates. If you had a job and money under the Thatcher government, there was multitude of opportunities. Whilst those who were without jobs and were dependant on welfare saw industries such as manufacturing decreasing in size, welfare payment cut in size, training being either cut or unfunded. They were expected to pay catch up with the winners on their own initiative without much help from the government. Much of the opposition came from the left, who Thatcher herself had little time for and one of her main objectives was the removal of socialism. Thatcher saw socialism as the polar opposite to her beliefs that people should first and foremost look after themselves. Whilst Thatcher created many enemies during her time as prime minister, she had little time to worry about these and even in her own cabinet she created a 'them' and 'us' situation, referring to those against her as the wets. Her confrontational style played a major role in much of her success but ultimately led to her fall from grace. This is not unlike all other politicians, who on the up their style is seen as strength, but once events turn against them, the same style is now seen as weakness. Blair, Brown, Major all suffered the same fate; it is difficult to name a politician who left whilst at the top of their game.
At the time of the interview where Thatcher made the comment ‘There is no such thing as society’ she had just won her 3rd election which was a record for British Prime Minister in the 20th Century. The rest of the interview and the context which the quote was made have been often over looked. What precedes the statement is Thatcher discussing the welfare dependency that she had come to so despise. She believed that too many people when faced with a problem had come to believe that the government would fix it. By saying that was no such thing as society, Thatcher wanted people to look to themselves first, that she believed it was people’s duty first and foremost. Once we had looked ourselves, she believed that we should look after our neighbors, those that are less fortunate than ourselves. This is a very early basic idea of the big society concept. The conservative party had always been about limited government, that the rich should not be taxed but had a duty to help the poor either directly or by giving to charity. The entitlement that people felt that they deserved benefits from the government, Thatcher believed that it had to work both ways, that people had an obligation to the state. Thatcher saw a benefits system which had been created to be a safety net which was now being abused. Thatcher stressed the importance of the fact that should the basic standard of living not be meet, that housing benefit would be needed to top this up. Thatcher throughout the interview stresses the importance of people and the effect that they can have on their own lives and the lives of others. Thatcher goes on to discuss the importance of children who have the natural rights to be looked after and for comfort. She notes that often children do not receive this and often end up neglected. Thatcher who is all about personal responsibility admits that children who are treated badly, it is difficult to say ‘you are responsible for your behavior’ as she admits that they have not had a chance which is a one of the biggest problems.
Thatcher in Power
In 1987 the UK was in the middle of economic boom, Thatcher in the eyes of many had turned the country around from the depths of despair of the late 1970’s which had seen the UK had to receive a loan from the IMF to bail itself out of trouble, rising inflation and strikes occurring across the country. The problems of 1970’s had started much earlier, the history of Great Britain had seen the building of an empire, the birth place of the industrial Revolution and being on the winning side of two world wars. The rise of imperialism in the 19th century and free trade had led to globalization which saw the ever expanding economic and military capacities of the US, Germany and Japan challenge Britain’s previous unrivaled strength Following on from the second world war which had brought the country together and seen the removal of elections as the Labour and Conservatives worked together for the good of the country, there was now a national consensus for welfare system to be built for the good of everyone. The Atlee Labour government implemented a Keynesian influenced programme which involved state efforts to harmonize all state activities both economic and social. The central premise was full employment by government demand management and increased social welfare expenditure would result in social harmony. Successive conservatives and Labour governments continued this consensus onto the 1970’s. The oil crisis in the early 70’s led to a major rise in inflation which resulted in both Labour and Conservative governments struggling to deal with the trade unions who wanted wages to at least meet the increase in inflation. Following the winter of discontent in 1978 which save strikes occur across the country and left the Labour government looking weak , Thatcher and the Conservative party swept to a majority victory in the 1979 May elections .
When Thatcher took over, she saw what she believed was a sorry state of affairs where the government had grown to almost unmanageable levels. Of the 25million people in employment, a third was employed in the public sector. The civil service had doubled in size since 1939, the National Health Service employed 1.5 million people and the nationalized industries employed over 2 million people. The local authorities employed 3million people. On top of this form of collectivism was the cost of it. Public sector had debts of £27billion, the total of the subsidies to the nationalized industries added to the borrowing by those industries equaled the entire cost of servicing the national debt the Level of taxation had risen to levels never seen before, income tax was up to 90% for the highest earners, inheritance tax had been increased up to 75% on bequests of over £2million and even 30% on modest inheritance of £50,000. These disincentives, the strikes and inflation had taken their toll on Britain’s comparative standing
Thatcher wanted to break the consensus, with monetarism replacing Keynesian style of economics. Monetarism was about the state controlling the supply of money rather spending money to keep the economy working. This was not as radical move as some would like to suggest as when the Labour government had received an emergency loan from the IMF in the 1978, this had come with conditions which had resulted in control of government spending, which was in effect monetarism. No longer would full employment would be the responsibly of the government. Thatcher believed that collectivism that had been so long a part of the government policy and thoughts that it had stifled individualism, ambition and enterprise. That it was up to the people of the Britain to stop the decline and that it was the government to put the frame work for them to succeed was at the centre of all Thatcher’s thinking. The government would be there to maintain the arrangements so that people could carry out their business in a safe protected environment. Self interest would be seen as good, that people had the responsibility to look after themselves, that the government would lower taxes to reward those that achieved success. As Shirley Robin Letwin points out Thatcher believed that people wanted freedom, wanted to have choice. It was not up to the government to dictate to people what they wanted; this had resulted in people becoming dependant on the government. Thatcher had the belief that people knew what is best for their own lives and should be allowed to get on with their lives. Individuals should be encouraged to take responsibility. That it is from the family that shapes the character of the individual and that individual who learns and becomes what they are, not only from families but from circumstances. One of the key Thatcher economic decisions was to reduce the rate of income tax, to reward people for their efforts and to give them the freedom to spend their money how they wished. In the 1979 budget the newly elected Thatcher government reduced the top rate of tax from 83 per cent to 60 per cent and the basic rate from 33 per cent to 30 per cent which was a clear sign of the Thatcher’s intent. In 1988 budget Nigel Lawson brought the basic rate of income tax from 27 per cent to 26 per cent and the top rate came down sharply from 60 per cent to 40 per cent. With the tax burdens seemingly falling, inflation nearly disappearing and the private sector booming, the Thatcher government seemed to be delivering the goods What followed was a recession that showed that the improvements that had been made in the 1980’s had not changed the economy as much as the government liked to claim.
By 1989 the government had only managed to reduce the government expenditure as a proportion of the national GDP by 4% below what it was in 1980, the decrease in income tax had been funded by increases in VAT and national insurance. VAT is a consumption flat tax which was proportionally worse for the poorly paid, which was the general trend for the Conservative government in the 1980’s. Living standards increased by just 1 per cent between 1979 and 1987 for the poorest fifth of the population, compared with a gain of 30 per cent for the richest fifth, Of the £27billion in income tax cuts since 1979, some 21per cent went to those earning £70,000 or more a year who represent 0.1 per cent of all tax payers. The 11 per cent of taxpayers earning £5,000 or less a year received just 2 per cent of the cuts Throughout the 80’s the rich were reaping the benefits of the boom, whilst those in the lower income brackets, the boom may as well have been happening in another country. Andrew Gamble points out just like the Tory traditional one-nation philosophy, Thatcher wanted a nation where everyone became united through property ownership and a consumerism. She attempted to do this with the sale of one million council houses and the sales of shares through the privatized industry sell-offs By offering shares of companies such as BT and British Gas at levels substantially below their real market value, large numbers of new investors were tempted to buy and then quickly sell to make a quick capital gains At the time of Thatcher’s departure, the number of owner-occupiers had rose from 52per cent of all households to 66 per cent and the number of individual shareholders had risen from 7 or over 21 per cent of the adult population, roughly 11million, of whom 60per cent owned just one share.
The economy was at the top of the Thatcher government priorities, the intention was to open it up as much as possible and to withdraw the state influence. In effect the Thatcher government gave priority to the maintenance of the openness of the British economy over the protection of domestic industry. By allowing companies to come into more competition, Thatcher believed that the companies would become stronger and improve Britain on a whole. Manufacturing was one of the worse sectors hit, between 1979 and 1986 manufacturing output fell by 28% which saw a loss of two million jobs. The financial services sector had much better time of it and saw a major boom during the 1980’s which the deregulation of credit played a major part in. The removal of the exchange rate on sterling had already begun with a relaxation by the outgoing Labour government due to the pressure of the North shore oil riches pushing sterling higher affecting the manufacturing trading prospects. The aim of abolishing exchange controls was not only to increase the supply of pounds and stop the exchange rate from rising to point of disaster, but at the same time to boost the position of London as a centre of finance allowing sterling to be able to support international lending and investment. Rolling back the power of the state was central to all of Thatcher’s government thoughts and plans. Exchange controls had been used to have direct control over bank lending to limit the growth of control. Once these were abolished, the city lobbied for credit controls to be abolished too. British and foreign banks wanted to use their offshore subsidiaries to lend to the British public, who were uninterested where the money came from to pay for their loans. Up until this point it had been up to the state to decide what activity should be allowed to happen in finance market. With the relaxing of the rules in a free market it was now up to the banks and consumers to decide whether where the investments and borrowings were worthwhile to take place. The controls which had been in place were seen as damaging economic efficiency. The Thatcher government believed the price of money would regulate the market more efficiently than any state could do. The fact that the government would control the supply of money would in theory force up interest rates and stop any credit boom. Following on from the scrapping of the exchange control, the government removed the ‘corset’ which set targets for the growth of bank deposits and thus the amounts the banks could lend, should the bank exceed the targets, the Bank of England would take over the excess and charge the bank penalties. The concept of the corset was simple, if the banks did not have the money, they could not lend it. With the corset now removed, Banks were now able to borrow from other banks and lend. The next financial control to be removed was the ‘reserve requirement’ which meant that the banks previously had to keep a fixed proportion of their deposits in cash or equivalent. This gave the bank of England control over the bank’s balance sheet, as should the bank be unable to meet its legal requirements then it was forced to ask the Bank of England for money to cover. Due to the expense, banks wanted to avoid what was in effect a hefty fine, they were careful to control their lending . In the space of only 12months the banks now found themselves in a position where not only could they lend as much as they wanted to but could raise as much finance as they wanted. With income tax dropping, inflation staying low, economy looking promising, both private consumers and business were stimulating the economy with private debt, taking over the government role of the previous 3 decades. Over the 1980’s private debt levels doubled, so that by 1990 each household held £114 of debt, up from £57 in 1980, for every £100 of disposable income, both the fastest growth rate and highest absolute level of debt of any western industrialized country No longer was it the government’s role to manage demand in the economy. This had been passed onto banks and building societies, where from 1979 to 1990 there was no year where bank and building society lending did not grow by at least 15 per cent, reaching a peak of 24 per cent in 1988 this was not only down deregulations in the finance market but the rising property prices, lenders began to lend at a higher proportion of the value of homes at ever greater multiples of the borrowers incomes. Wages were on the rise which gave borrowers more confidence to take on debt. Home owners felt wealthy, able to borrow and spend in their own right. Consumer spending rose by 3.3 per cent from 1982 to 1985 and 6.3 per cent the following 3years. Through low inflation, cheap credit, the boom in effect was financing itself.
Whilst there was a boom occurring for some, the 1980’s saw a major increase in unemployment. During the 13year period of the Conservative rule in 1950s-60’s, in eight out of thirteen years unemployment was below half a million and never went above one million Despite all the difficulties that the Labour government had faced in 1970’s with inflation, public spending and the sterling, unemployment had not risen above one and half million. In fact before 1979 election, the Conservatives had run a poster campaign with ‘Labour isn’t working’ with a picture of a long queue at the unemployment office. Having won the election, the new Conservative government saw the most dramatic rise in unemployment that the country had seen since the 1930’s occur between 1979 and 1982, up from 1.2 million to 3 million Where as Thatcher had wanted to remove the state from people’s lives, the major increase in unemployment actually had the reverse effect as more people than ever became dependant on the government for benefits. From the mid 80’s onwards adult unemployment fell for 44 consecutive months until April 1990 when it reached a low of 1.6million. The downturn over the following 12months saw it rise back up to 2 million. The proportion of the population living on or below the social assistance level rose from 6 to 19 per cent between 1979 and 1987. The number of children being raised on social assistance rose from 923,000 to more than 2million. The number of households accepted as homeless increased from 68,000 to 163,000. Not only did the rise of unemployment increase public spending, it exposed the experience of welfare dependency, not only to the unemployed person, but to the immediate family as well. Whilst the boom in the 80’s saw the unemployment figures fall, were still were double of the average in the 70’s. Second generation unemployment became an issue as many children were now being brought up in houses, where no one was working. Whilst not only was there a raise in unemployment, the Thatcher government reduced the amount of benefit that claimants would receive and at same would no longer be tied to wages increase, this had a major effect as wages were on the major rise. The rich get richer, the poor getting poorer, was how the 80’s could easily be summed up. The levels of the financial inequality that had been created had never been seen before and are unlikely ever to be closed.
The Thatcher ethos was the encouragement to look after yourself, that you were your own responsibility. The free market is about competition and Thatcher encouraged everyone to be part of this. It is difficult to be compassionate for others, when you are told they are your competition. Individualism has little time for the thoughts of others, whilst Thatcher may have preached from time to time about responsibilities to others, the actions of the government in the 80’s was about rewarding success and treating failure with little more than disdain. Those that failed, it was seen as their fault that they could not get a job, despite the government policies having direct effects on the huge increase of unemployment. With the rich having more income, paying less tax, seeing their property values rise economy, the banks having the freedom to give credit out without restriction, too many people who trying just to keep up, greed pretty much took over due to the market’s necessity. The market can be seen as living organism which has to constantly grow, with no interest what is right or wrong, that only by people consuming can the market get bigger. Bigger is seen as better, more is essential, the market has no limits. The 80’s saw the creed become that earning money was good and not working was bad, there was no in between. Not only did this create a divide, but created an atmosphere of the rich having the moral high ground, that making profits was the end result. Spend more, take more, this attitude ran throughout the country. Whilst consumer spending has slowed down due to the credit crunch in 2007, the divide between rich and poor has widened. Whilst the rich in many cases have not been affected by the crash, the dislike of those on welfare has continued, the attitude that it is the victim’s fault persists. This has been fuelled by tabloids that have highlighted the special one off cases where claimants have received benefits over £30,000 for families with numbers of 5 or more. The fact that much of these large benefit payments are paid straight to wealthy landlords seems to be overlooked. Those who are unable to contribute, struggle or take time to find the way in which they can contribute are too often grouped with those who choose not to contribute. Whilst the government helping the less fortunate with welfare benefits was seen as unfair on society, reduction of income tax, the sale of cheap council houses and cheap shares in British Gas was seen as the acceptable, so helping was only good if you already had money. Thatcher was giving people money for little in return, just as many people view the benefits given to welfare claimants. Greed had now overtaken compassion; people were out for themselves, with little regards for others. Where there is a problem, it is never to do with the individual; the blame is easy to lie at the door of someone else, the unemployed, the immigrants, the bankers. Individualism has taught people to look after themselves without regards of how their actions can affect the bigger picture.
The individualism that came to the front of the 1980’s under the Thatcher government overshadowed that Thatcher cared passionately about social order and social obligations. Thatcher believed that the individual had an obligation and should the individual keep to the obligations to work hard and prove for their families then this would result in an ordered society. Shirley Letwin noted that Thatcher believed vigorous virtues such as, upright, self-sufficient, energetic, adventurous, independent-minded, loyal to friends and robust against enemies. These traits could be applied to anyone, from any class or job. Thatcher wanted to view society as one group of individuals who were busy looking after themselves. When Thatcher had taken over, she saw that softer virtues such as kindness, gentleness, sympathy, cheerfulness had become common place and vigorous virtues been put to the back Whilst the softer virtues were good, Thatcher saw too much emphasis had been place on them and that they had removed responsibility for oneself. Thatcher saw people as being capable of looking after themselves; the state had been getting in the way for a long time. Thatcher did not overlook the importance of family; she believed it was family that shaped character of the individual. Mortgage-relief, child allowance, inheritance tax, all these were to benefit from Conservative policies under Thatcher as she believed they strengthen the ties within a family. Thatcher believed that people knew best, that the family was at the heart of everything that could be good. That this was to be aided through individuals who were pursing their own self interests which in turn benefit the country as a whole.

Labour and the big crash
Following on for 17years of a Conservative Government, was a Labour government which continued on with the Thatcher’s policies a consensus of economics which involved freedom and the individual. Ministers such as Peter Mandleson spoke of their comfort with the rich getting richer. Just as the 50’s and 60’s had seen a period of prosperity which had seen politicians saying that the country had never had it so good, the 80’s, 90’s and much of the 2000’s saw similar prosperity for some of the country, leading Gordon Brown to talk of no more boom and bust. Labour were obsessed with the middle class and their rights as a consumer. A report by McKinsey Global Institute showed that when all domestic, private and public-sector debt was taken into account, in 2010 total UK debt stands at around 469% of GDP, in black and white, these figures clearly show a country has been living for today, without much consideration for tomorrow. With a boom that the Chancellor thought would never bust, the Labour government went on a spending spree, increasing government expenditure rose from 36.3% of GDP in 1999-2000 to 47.5% of GDP in 2009-2010, whilst in the same period saw public productivity decline by 3.4%. Whilst the government was spending the money from a boom, it had given up more control of the economy with the Bank of England now in charge of setting interest rates. All controls had been removed and the banks were free to do business as they wished. As credit was now more freely available and property prices rising, the UK saw a rise in personal deft of 165.2% from £570million to £1,512million
The bust that few predicted came in August 2007, where the financial system almost ground to a halt, which resulted in the nationalization of the RBS bank and part nationalization of Lloyds TSB. Where in the 80’s the funds raised from North Shore Oil and the nationalization that had helped Thatcher come out of the recession and pay for the tax cuts, there was little for the government to fall back on. The basis of the credit crunch was bad debits that the banks could not afford, much of this was down to sub-primer mortgages in the USA, which due to the freeing up of markets the UK banks were now involved in heavily and other markets across the world where a domino effect was occurring. The property boom that occurred in the 80’s had now turned into a major bubble with banks happy to lend 4times a person income on properties that had doubled in price. People were making huge profits on their existing properties and were happy to remortgage their properties to spend as they wished. The consumerism that had started in the 80’s was growing and was built of foundations of sand, credit that really should not have never have existed. With falling tax revenues, having to bail out the banks and increased spending, the government found itself in a difficult position. Just as what happened in the 80’s,many of those at the bottom were not seeing any benefit, only an influx of foreign workers who were skilled and were happy to work for lower wages than their British counterparts. A mandate of 30years of individualism had not only lead to a divided Britain but a break down in trust. People use to know everyone’s name in their street, share common bonds, stand gossip; a community was there for all to see. Now fewer than half of Britons trust the people in their own neighborhoods, and only 30% agree that most people can be trusted People have become disillusioned with not only the government but society as a whole. As individualism has been at the heart of government policy for 30years it can hardly be surprising that this is the case. No longer is it about a commitment to social responsibility, it is about the individual right to choose, which school to attend, how to receive medical care, many of the government policies both Conservative and Labour have become about treating people as customers, rather than members of society. The concept of the individual is likely to move people away from wanting to be involved in politics and government, which are about the whole. The invasion of Iraq which was seen by many as unjust and pushed through by a prime minister against the wishes of many, including many in his own cabinet based on evidence of WMD, which were found to be untrue, started to unravel the already loose connection between politicians and the public. The expenses scandal, the phone tapping scandal, cash for questions, the credit crunch, even though it was the minority that was involved, the public were becoming distrustful of those in power. As well as this breakdown in trust, no longer was there an obligation to participate in public life, this had been replaced by expectation of and dependency on state provision.

The big society concept
State intervention had become to be seen as an evil that got in the way of people’s freedom, that it stunted growth and was unhelpful. In 2007 as the banks were on the brink of failure, there was no option but for the governments to intervene without much disagreement from anyone. With the right intervention in the right way, people are still willing to accept that the state has a strong role to play.
In his leadership victory speech David Cameron spoke of a broken society, that there was such as a thing as society but it was different to the state. What followed was the concept of the Big Society which was the focus of much of the Conservative campaign, many voters and politicians alike have struggled to come to terms with the concept and many of its critics have dismissed it as cost saving exercise. Once the coalition was created, the idea has drifted off the political map to be replaced with talk of austerity, NHS, new schools.
What the big society concept should be about how people can be good, that helping others is to the benefit of all and the important role that the government should play in this. In Sovereignty of Good Iris Murdoch discusses how a moral philosophy is needed to rescue values. Murdoch makes the assumption that human beings are naturally selfish and that human lives has no external point that are subject to necessity and chance. She points out that the concept of good, can differ from person to person, that it is up to the individual to fill but often they choose personal benefit. That central to morality are the concepts of justice, truthfulness, humility. The moral choice is a matter for personal will that we do not necessarily see what confronts us, often falsifying what is in front of usJust as the credit crunch coming was not seen by the many, instead the many were enjoying the boom like it would never end, taking risks that were almost the same as a punter placing a bet at the local betting shop. Murdoch points out that people are too often to think in selfish ways, that they always presume that that they are taking the moral choice, without real study or thought on the decision that they are taking, as usually when a person thinks it first is of their own self interests. That it must be kept real, the situation must be in a context with duty that ignores the concept of a freedom which is often an individual short term perspective. From the exploitation of expenses by MP’s over a number of years, the council house sales, the share selling of British Gas, the water companies, the cut in taxes, the low interest rates, the easy to get credit, each of these were short term gains for individual benefit. People were encouraged to look after themselves, enjoy the benefits of the climate without concern for others. For the big society concept to really work, morality needs to be at the heart of its actions, looking less to the moving the individual’s needs and more to the greater good.
As Tim Jackson notes, there is loneliness and anomic that has undermined well-being in modern economy. To reduce this there needs to be greater attention given to community and participation in the life of society Only the government can put in a frame work for this to happen, just as the previous 30years of government had seen the framework for the individual to prosper, a new framework is needed to encourage people to take the longer term outlook, less of their own personal needs and more thought for society as a whole. This new structure in society needs to reconnect people, strength commitment and encourages social behavior. Only the government can play a part in this, it cannot be left up to the individual as he will always think of himself first.
In the book ‘Rush’ Todd Buchholz talks about that any system which involves people will result in competition, that people have a deep need to work and to create, that through the friction of competition can occur the creation of good things. That only through activity can happiness occur, competition needs to be fair to give everyone more of a chance of succeeding. The only way to earn self respect and respect of others is to work, to produce something meaningful. Success validates people’s lives that give people the feeling that that they are worth the love that parents have lavished on them. Society can only function if its members are taking an interest and having thoughts for others, only by doing this can it grow and become stronger, the isolation of individualism can create an widener gap that maybe difficult to bring back together. George Osborne may talk of ‘we are all in this together’ but his actions of cutting back on welfare payments, whilst at the same time cutting the high rate of income tax from 50p to 45p can be viewed very differently. That work is good for people does not seem to be in doubt, but in difficult economic times it is not easy for people to gain jobs and that can erode people’s confidence which is often over looked. Whilst those are fortunate to have jobs are likely to see welfare claimant’s as people who don't want to work, without any knowledge of their particular circumstances. Not only do the jobless have to contend with the stress of trying to finding a job, a way of living on benefits which do not match the rising inflation, more likely to be cut but the knowledge that people are more likely to blame them rather than to help them. Thatcher dismissed the role of the government in helping people, but it must be up to the government to show that it is there to help people to help themselves, help people get the skills to become more employable.
In Mindfulness Ellen Langer talks of the need for people to become more mindful, more oriented in the moment. She talks of the untapped depth and richness of our creative resources, the tremendous reserves of life energy that lies with us Without thinking, by taking things as we think there are, without looking properly, it demises our self-image narrows our choices and weds us to single-minded attitudes which leads to wasted potential As Langer notes unless a person’s mindset changes, the same lack of success will probably following these endeavors today or tomorrow, the long term unemployment are not only held back by the lack of jobs, but by their own attitudes and the attitudes from those around them. The government is telling them it is they duty to get themselves back to work without really acknowledging the difficulties that the unemployed are facing. This is where the break down in society is occurring, the lack of government empathy and realization of how it really is. Langer talks of how people become defined by their labels, people who are on welfare are often called lazy and scroungers, is it little wonder that they often turned into their label. In the 80’s saw the Thatcher government encourage making money to such an extent that it could be seen as moral and good, where as when the credit crunch occurred, the bankers who had been just doing the same ‘moral’ acts were now found to be in the wrong. The context of the bankers actions had changed, not their actions and the way they went about their business. Not only did both the welfare claimants and bankers both live up to their labels, but they suffered from the fact that past experience have determined present reactions and robs the individual of control The big society concept needs to make people not only feel responsible for others as well as themselves, but by bringing everyone under the same roof, needs to get people to start viewing things from everyone’s perspectives, how their actions have repercussions on others, that anti-social behavior actually has detrimental effect on others. There has been a removal in society where people no longer feel connected. Whilst there is no excusing the criminal activities of the rioters who were seen as greedy and out for themselves with the theft of luxury items such as designer clothes and TV. Such individualization and consumerism has its roots in the 80’s and whilst Thatcher had started the freedom of the markets that required people to buy so that growth would continue, the Labour party had bought into this and continued the belief that rich is good. For the many to see that being rich and successful turning into a virtue, is not going to end well. Not all can be rich and successful, so those who are not are left to be told in effect that they are losers. A big society needs to recognize that should be no such things as losers, just individuals who can be a success in their own right. Langer points out the need for not only openness to new information but also to different points of view, as she notes we are likely to blame circumstances for our negative behavior ‘the subway always makes me late’ if the very same behavior is engaged in by someone else, we tend to blame that individual ‘he is chronically behind schedule’, the same can be applied to much of the behavior in the UK for past 30years where people have been happy to benefit from the greed culture that has arisen. Once the fallout from credit crunch had occurred it was easy to pass the blame rather to looks to one’s own actions and see how everyone had played a part in taking took much credit, tax avoidance, it was much easier to blame the bankers. The welfare payments given by the government has been seen as people getting ‘free money’ but the cheap council houses, reduced shares, reduced income tax, tax evasion these are not seen as being free money by the government, people believe they have more entitlement to those wasters on welfare, without much thought on why the people are on benefit and how they struggle by on £65 a week. Once people are encouraged to become open to other people’s struggles and lives, the more chance of them understanding how that they are similar. Different perspectives are essential for people to have more choice in how to respond Through openness to seeing other people’s lives, not only will people gain empathy but also more open- attitude to their own behavior, allowing change to become possible. More views of the world and how things occur will open people up to the possibility that they can do things differently. Understanding that there is not one set way of doing things, that maybe there is a better way is essential part of the big society concept. As at the moment too many people are happy to put the blame of the ills of ‘society’ onto others and believe there is little other option.
The opportunity to make choices often increases our motivation both Thatcher and the Labour government preached about choice in the NHS, in the school system, but it was about individual choice, for what was best for the individual without much thought or regard to others. There must be change in attitude to make people think of others in the decisions that their take, this will be difficult as it’s a long held mindset. One of the choices you don’t have is to go to school or not, whilst parents will have great influence in children’s life, the role of the school cannot be underestimated. The chance for schools to get children involved in local charitable organizations should be taken advantage of. Getting children involved will show them how other people have struggles, will help them gain new skills and realize how rewarding it can be when helping others. All this could contribute to more mature children building relationships with others. Tim Jackson notes for the drive to continue economic growth, consumerism must be developed to keep purchasing the goods that there are essential to protect jobs and maintain stability , consumerism is about creating needs and fulfilling them, it’s a never ending cycle, that essentially many participants are never really satisfied. The need for the I-phone is a case in point, the people with them feel that they can’t live without it and many who don’t have feel that they are missing out. Children as young as 9 and 10 are becoming the next generation of consumers; no longer do they want the latest Barbie doll or the action man toy. They want a new iPhone just like their parents who are obsessed with such material things. Society needs to go back to basics to realize that there is more important issues that the latest gadgets which in effect really add little to life quality. Material goods have gained too much importance in life, the government needs to put through policies need to reflect this. Banning on advertising to children is one policy that could have long term positive effects but with the short term negative effects on business. That the government first and foremost think of how policy will affect the whole of society, that the individual benefits must take second place to this, is essential for success. As David Brooks points out people have great deal of trouble exercising self control, they view the world in a biased way, context is the great influence, that present satisfaction takes priority over future prosperity that the governments of the past 30’s have fallen into this trap there can be little doubt. The concept of the big society needs to look over a longer period of time, come to realize that the decisions that are taken today have consequence for next 20-30 years, whilst Thatcher would have abhorred the selfish greedy behavior of the bankers; it was her policies that laid the foundation for the economy and the banks to become so out of control. In social animal Brooks talks of Richard Nisbett’s famous experiment, in which he showed pictures of fish tank to Americans and Japanese, the Americans focused in on the biggest and more prominent fish in the tank, while the Japanese made 60 per cent more reference to context and background such as the water, rocks, bubbles, plants in the tank. Nesbitt conclusion on the whole was that westerners tend to focus on individuals taking actions whilst Asians are more likely to be focused on context and relationships Culture is a collection of habits, practices, beliefs, arguments and tensions, that regulate and guide human life Cultures built over a long period of time and cannot be changed overnight, Society is made up of people, a layering of networks, people are embedded creatures whose decisions emerge from a specific mental environment, for example the breakdown of marriages became much more common with the loosening of divorce laws, before this may people stayed in marriages as it was seen as the norm. People’s behavior is often affected by those around them and what is seen as normal. Using the big society concept, the government needs to nudge people in the direction of thinking long term and not only of one self. By changing the regulations of the country, you can affect the culture. Cutting back the tax breaks given to charitable donations is the exact opposite of what the big society concept involves; the government needs to encourage good behavior.

Conclusion The Sunday Times rich list in 2012 showed that in the past 12months the top 1000people in the United Kingdom have seen their wealth grow by 4.7 per cent, at the same time the average wage fell by 1.8 per cent whilst there can be arguments over whether Thatcher broke society, there can be no doubt the policies that the Thatcher government implemented create a divide in society that maybe never brought together. This divide is breaking social trust, that they are so far apart that they don’t understand each other. The ethos of profit and money is good is not going to go away overnight even if people wanted it to. The control over the banks and the economy that successive governments have given up is almost impossible to recover as the spread of globalization has got the UK in its grip and will not let go. Governments across Europe are at the mercy of the ‘markets’, both Greece and Italy at this present time do not have democratically elected leaders, rather leaders who have been installed to appease the markets. Following on from the government bail outs of the banks across Europe in 2007, this has now turned into a devil pack with the markets, where money talks. George Osborne takes more notice of the market, IMF and his triple star rating than the UK voter, with an estimated trillion pound deficit to deal with; it is not difficult to see why.
Thatcher and Smith agreed that the market knew best, both also agreed on the need for a strong state. A strong state is essential for man to be free, to progress, for ideas to prosper. There is no doubt that the individual has to take responsibility but the state has to ensure that there is a framework that not only the individual prospers but the whole succeeds.
The big society concept needs to be mixture of the state and the people. The state needs to lay down a framework to push people into thinking of others and having consideration. Whilst man can be selfish when people think or talk about happiness, events that have occurred in their lives. They are very likely to think of times spent with people at weddings, birthday parties, holidays, work even. Life involves people, very little of our major memories will be where we were alone. Human beings are a social animal that need others for love, support, help, and comfort. The phase ‘no man is an island’ is completely true, man needs contact with others to succeed and enjoy life. For humanity to prosper it must learn to use these social instincts. For the past 30years there has been a consensus of government action which has over looked this and put the individual at the forefront, that their wants and needs have come first. The consumer is essential for the growth of the economy has taken centre stage while the general welfare of society at large has been put to the back.
The concept of the big society needs to be more than just about volunteers providing services for free. For the concept to really work needs to be at the centre of all government plans just as Thatcher wanted to put the removal the state from people’s lives at the centre of hers. The state needs to have the central aim of bringing society closer together, to understand that if people succeed then it has to be to the benefit of all, instead at the expense of others.

Bibliography
A.Gamble ‘The free economy and the strong state’ (London, 1994)
D.Brooks ‘The Social Animal’ (Suffolk, 2011)
D.Willetts ‘The Pinch’ (London, 2010)
E.J.Langer ‘Mindfulness’ (Cambridge USA, 1989)
I.Murdoch ‘The Sovereignty of Good’ (Oxon 2001)
J.Kingdon ‘No such thing as society’ (Buckingham, 1992)
J.Kreiger ‘Reegan, Thatcher and the Politics of decline’ (Oxford, 1986)
J.Sachs ‘The Price of Civilization’ (London, 2011)
Margaret Thatcher Interview for Woman’s Own 23rd September 1987 https://superbpaper.com/?cid=3009 accessed 30th January 2012
P. Bond ‘Red Tory’ (London 2010)
P.Hirst ‘After Thatcher’ (London 1989)
P.Hirst ‘Miracle or Mirage’ in N.Tiratsoo from Blitz to Blair (London 1998)
P.Riddell ‘The Thatcher era and its legacy’ (Oxford, 1991)
Rachel Sylvester ‘A dangerous pattern emerges from the mess’ The Times 1st May 2012 p. 19
S.R.Letwin ‘The Anatomy of Thatcherism’ (London, 1992)
T.Jackson ‘Prosperity without growth’ (London, 2011)
Todd G.Buchholz ‘Rush’ (London 2011)
W.C.Runcimon ‘Has British Capitalism changed since the First World War’ The British Journal of Sociology Vol. 44, No. 1 (Mar., 1993), pp. 53-67
W.Hutton ‘The state we’re in’ (London, 1995)

--------------------------------------------
[ 1 ]. Margaret Thatcher Interview for Woman’s Own 23rd September 1987 https://superbpaper.com/?cid=3009 accessed 30th January 2012
[ 2 ]. Kriger. J Reagan, Thatcher and the politics of Decline (Cambridge 1986) p. 21
[ 3 ]. Ibid p. 24
[ 4 ]. Letwin.S ‘The anatomy of Thatcherism’ (London 1992) p.89-90
[ 5 ]. Ibid p.91-92
[ 6 ]. W.Hutton ‘The state we’re in’ p. 65
[ 7 ]. Ibid p.320
[ 8 ]. Paul Hirst ‘Miracle or Mirage’ in Nick Tiratsoo From Blitz to Blair (London 1998) p.197
[ 9 ]. Shirley Robin Letwin The Anatomy of Thatcherism (London 1992) p. 123
[ 10 ]. W.C.Runcimon Has British Capitalism Changed The British Journal of Sociology
Vol. 44, No. 1 (Mar., 1993), pp. 53-67
[ 11 ]. P.Riddell The Thatcher era and its legacy (Oxford 1989) p.234
[ 12 ]. Gamble.A ‘The Free economy and the strong state’ (London 1994) p. 219
[ 13 ]. Gamble A. ‘The free economy and strong state’ p.245
[ 14 ]. Ibid p.234
[ 15 ]. Ibid p. 246
[ 16 ]. Ibid p.232
[ 17 ]. W. Hutton ‘The State we’re in’ (London 1995) p.63
[ 18 ]. Ibid p. 63
[ 19 ]. Ibid p.64
[ 20 ]. Ibid. p.64-65
[ 21 ]. Ibid p.66
[ 22 ]. Ibid p.71
[ 23 ]. Ibid p.71
[ 24 ]. Ibid p. 72
[ 25 ]. Andrew Gamble ‘The Free economy and the strong state’
[ 26 ]. Ibid p. 99
[ 27 ]. Paul Hirst ‘after Thatcher’ (London 1989) p. 127
[ 28 ]. Peter Riddell ‘The Thatcher Era and its legacy’ (Oxford, 1989) p.233
[ 29 ]. S R Letwin ‘the anatomy of Thatcherism’ p.33
[ 30 ]. Ibid p.33
[ 31 ]. P. Blond ‘Red Tory’ (London 2010) p.53
[ 32 ]. Ibid p. 56
[ 33 ]. Ibid p. 43
[ 34 ]. Ibid p. 72
[ 35 ]. I. Murdoch ‘The Sovereignty of good’ (London 2001) p.75-83
[ 36 ]. Ibid. P.89
[ 37 ]. T. Jackson ‘Prosperity without growth’(London 2011) P.156
[ 38 ]. T. G.Buchholz ‘Rush’ (London 2011) p15-25
[ 39 ]. E. J.Langer Mindfulness (United states of America 1989)
[ 40 ]. Ibid p.46
[ 41 ]. Ibid p.46
[ 42 ]. Ibid p.54
[ 43 ]. Ibid 68
[ 44 ]. Ibid 68-69
[ 45 ]. T. Jackson ‘prosperity without growth’(London 2011) p. 167
[ 46 ]. D. Brooks ‘The social animal’ (London 2011) p.178
[ 47 ]. Ibid p.141
[ 48 ]. Ibid p.148
[ 49 ]. Ibid p.155
[ 50 ]. Rachel Sylvester ‘A dangerous pattern emerges from the mess’ The Times 1st May 2012 p. 19…...

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...The novel Things Fall Apart is a classic novel that was written in 1958 by African author Chinua Achebe. This timeless novel about the Ibo people of Nigeria mirrors society in many different ways. Two recurring themes in the novel are colonization and superstition, and they each mirror society in their own individual way. Many of the superstitions that we are familiar with today do not seem to be as far-fetched as the ones depicted in the novel, and yet the society we live in is still very superstitious. One may argue that colonization is a thing of the past, but the affects of colonization are still being felt in many places around the world to this day. Colonization and superstition are major themes illustrated in the novel Things Fall Apart and they also mirror life in our society today. The affects of colonization in Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart are very prominent towards the end of the novel. After the missionaries have settled in Umuofia, the dynamic of the villages change. Obeirika, Okonkwo’s closest friend comments on the smarts of the “white man” in this excerpt from the novel: “The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on things that held us together and we have fallen apart” (Achebe, 176). This quote heavily demonstrates the effects of colonization on the Ibo people.......

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The Thing

...confederacy. These laws basically made it ok for everyone who was white to segregate themselves and other races into separate schools, doctors, hospitals, jobs, even blood. Making life and getting access to basic rights much harder. These laws gave loop holes for lynching and murdering. We do not know to this day how many African American lives were taken from lynching and other forms of murder. The black man took all the blame from the white man and there was little to nothing they could do to stop it. It was an accepted way of life for them. These laws were still in place, especially in the south until 1965. Henrietta was a victim to this racism as well as the men from the Tuskegee experiments and Emit Till and countless others. The thing is though, back then they didn’t think there was anything abnormal about racism. Henrietta and her family grew up doing hard labor, working in the tobacco fields and generally “ tough work that white men wouldn’t touch”(Skloot 26)...

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Society

...1. Society Society is made up of the human relationship. It is generally considered as a group of people living together in cooperation, but, in fact society is a web of human relationship in which there is constant give and take and mutuality. When a person is born he/she begins living in the society. The people around him are the members of the society. In the first step a child becomes familiar with his mother, then with the family members and the society. So society is the place where a person in engaged from the beginning of his/her life. It is the society which plays a vital role in shaping an individual. A society is very important and essential thing for one’s living. No one can live a normal life in the absence of the society. Beside this it is an individual who makes a society complete. So there is indispensable relationship between a society and an individual. A collection of many individuals makes a society and a society influences a person in his/her growth and development. Without a society, an individual becomes a lonely person who neither can solve the problems of his life nor can live a normal satisfactory life. After a birth a person needs the help and co-operation of the society until his death. Society and an individual are closely interrelated. One becomes incomplete in absence of another. It is the society which is made up of the relationship among individuals and the individuals are incomplete in being away from the society....

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