A nation of lonely hearts

The BBC yesterday published a report entitled “Changing UK” focusing on Community Spirit across Great Britain.

The report and associated video coverage can be viewed by clicking here.

Whilst I have a few concerns about the accuracy of some statistics I strongly agree with the overall message that “UK is a nation of lonely hearts, with traditional community life fading away”

The breakdown of community life is, I believe, one the biggest problems currently facing society. It is affecting many aspects of everyday life and inhibiting the development of a safe, inclusive and sustainable society.

Individualistic concerns often mean that people are now more concerned with their own selfish concerns rather than the greater good e.g. burning fossil fuels and continuing to contribute to Global Warming via driving Chelsea Tractors whilst the threat of Climate Change increases.

Many different approaches have been advocated to deal with the breakdown in community life and its effects e.g. gated communities to prevent crime, return to moral values of the 1950s to tackle the rise in divorces.

I, not surprisingly, advocate a different approach which encourages people to focus more on well being rather than purely on wealth. This can be achieved through an array of means ranging from hard to soft options such as financially incentivising collaborative action and softer options were people are "nudged" to choose better options.

Whilst I intend to outline possible solutions to address the problem at a later date the BBC report serves as a timely reminder that the breakdown of community life is a significant and important issue that needs to be addressed.

2 December 2008