Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?

When the going gets tough

Data from the 28th annual British Social Attitudes report shows that rather than moving to a big society, we are withdrawing and trying to look after ourselves, perhaps becoming more resilient.

Since 1980 when the surveys started the biggest changes are:

  • 54% of people think that benefits are too high and discourage people from working – up from 35% since 1980
  • paying more taxes for public services such as the NHS and education is only supported by 31% compared to 63% nine years ago
  • Only 25% are now prepared to pay higher prices to safeguard the environment, down from 43% in 2000
  • Scepticism about global warming has grown from 25% in 2000 to 38% now

The National Centre for Social Research which carries out the surveys – over 3,000 adults interviewed for an hour each – thinks the big question is whether we are becoming more selfish and concerned with only looking after ourselves.

This reaction to austerity and civil unrest is perhaps not surprising when the working middles see bankers at the top still getting away with mind-boggling bonuses whilst at the same time seeing families who’ve never worked, and which seem to breed even more generations of welfare benefit recipients, living at the tax-payers expense in houses they can’t afford.

It’s hard to worry about others when we are worried about ourselves and our families. That’s our priority. We may be becoming more self-reliant but at a cost to society as a whole.

And part of that problem is that we have a very unequal society with income inequality the highest it’s been for 30 years. The richest tenth of our population has 31% of total income and as much as the bottom 50% put together.

It would be interesting to see how well charities are doing in terms of  contributions these days. Are people still giving to good causes?

I think there is more scepticism about just where your charity pound actually goes these days. And am I the only person who gets annoyed seeing celebrities on TV asking us to give to charities from our hard-earned income. It would be easier if they each wrote a nice cheque, which would be tax-dedcutable I’m sure, and save us the trouble of having our regular TV programmes cancelled so they can promote themselves alongside the charity.


Author: mikethepsych

He says he's a psychologist but aren't we all?

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