Erm, Willy laddie……

As a result, the arteries in American society are hardening. Social mobility is in decline, but, worse, the general drop in trust observable in all social classes is most marked among the poorest third of Americans. Nor should it be any surprise that they are \”cynical and even paranoid\”, writes Putnam: it is a rational response to their situation. Every institution that might be expected to alleviate their plight – family, school, voluntary organisations and church – has become dysfunctional.

Meanwhile, the rich, dealing themselves out of society\’s institutions into ever stronger and sealed ghettoes of their own, become ever more ignorant of the world around them even while they ensure their off-spring scoop life\’s prizes.

There are parallels in Britain. The rise of rightwing individualism and an accompanying celebration of the private and distrust of the public, is undermining the diversity and strength of our social institutions.

Umm, no. This is not a parallel. This is an opposite.

Family, voluntary organisations, churches, these are private social institutions. Your real complaint is not that Brits are giving up on their families at all: it\’s that Brits are turning from the public social institutions to private ones like the family.

This is the opposite of your complaint about the US.

4 thoughts on “Erm, Willy laddie……”

  1. For one moment I was mystified as to who you were talking about. I could not work who would make such an inane comparison, so I clicked on the link and found that this was another deliberation from the Ever Blessed St William of Hutton.

    I once had the misfortune to sit in a large hall and have to listen to Hutton burble for several minutes, whilst saying absolutely nothing of any comprehensible value whatsoever. It was embarrassing. How does one get to draw a salary from The Work Foundation, and can I have some please?

  2. The principle institution of the flexible labour market is the trade union?

    Apart from the simple error – he means “principal”, but then this is the Gruniad after all – surely the principal institution of the flexible labour market (assuming that ‘the worker’ is taken as being incapable of being an institution by themselves and ‘the workforce’ are insufficiently co-ordinated) is the employer?

    Now, if he had claimed that trades unions were the principal institution of an inflexible labour market, he would have had a point. But then he wouldn’t be Will Hutton!

  3. [The family] might be expected to alleviate their plight[, but it] has become dysfunctional.

    Meanwhile, the rich … ensure their off-spring scoop life’s prizes.

    Sounds to me like the family is going strong in some parts of the US.

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