This book on contemporary social evils may come as something of a surprise. There is the desire that Joseph Rowntree expressed for the trusts he endowed a century ago to search out the underlying causes of ‘weakness and evil’ in society. The themes that emerged from the first series of discussions were in many respects similar to those highlighted by the website consultation. They included poverty, crime, family breakdown and a declining sense of community, and a common perception that refugees and asylum seekers are treated more favourably than British citizens. People from disadvantaged groups were also asked, in the second round of discussions, to say what they thought could be done to address social evils. It may be concluded that those who search for the underlying causes of social problems have a moral as well as objective responsibility to scrutinise the use and abuse of economic power.
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