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 Social Issues: what can one person do?
Topic Originator: onandupthepars  
Date:   Thu 28 Jul 17:55

This is a new development from the `atheist stuff` thread, on which Tad Allagash posted (Thu 28 Jul 16:19):

"Below is a quote from Physicist Richard Feynman on the idea of scientists focusing on social problems.

“From time to time, people suggest to me that scientists ought to give more consideration to social problems... and it seems to be generally believed that if the scientists would only look at these very difficult social problems and not spend so much time fooling with the less vital scientific ones, great success would come of it.

It seems to me that we do think about these problems from time to time, but we don`t put full-time effort into them -- the reason being that we know we don`t have any magic formula for solving problems, that social problems are very much harder than scientific ones, and that we usually don`t get anywhere when we do think about them.

I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy...“


That`s interesting, Tad. I didn`t think I was thinking about what scientists could do, but I suppose I was, in a way. I referred to Physicists being able to send stuff to Mars and back, and suggested that if more of the best brains got to work on social problems it might help.

Yes it might be daft to ask a Physicist to tackle such problems, but I think science maybe has a glamour, attraction for the best brains, and funding that working with social problems doesn`t have?

Post Edited (Thu 28 Jul 18:25)
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 Re: Social Issues: what can one person do?
Topic Originator: jake89  
Date:   Thu 28 Jul 18:57

I don`t think it`s for scientists to resolve, and no-one would listen if they did.

My view is that most social issues are a result of the people who control the narrative. In most of the world it`s media. In the UK, it`s the media who decide on our behalf what we should be upset by or offended by. They decide what`s important and, unfortunately for the poor, it`s not you so get back to work!
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 Re: Social Issues: what can one person do?
Topic Originator: onandupthepars  
Date:   Thu 28 Jul 22:28

Yeh, I wasn`t suggesting scientists should take on those issues, only that science projects, eg. space missions get bigger funding than the things that adversely affect a lot of folk. I think I see what you mean about media, mostly focusing on lesser issues or the odd sensational social issue, such as a grisly murder. Mind, I think the Mirror has done some campaigns which had a good effect, but taking the media as a whole, there`s not much of an ongoing effort to focus on or solve any social problems. Is that what you meant, Jake?



Post Edited (Thu 28 Jul 22:30)
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 Re: Social Issues: what can one person do?
Topic Originator: jake89  
Date:   Fri 29 Jul 08:43

Pretty much.

I don`t really read the papers but I can guarantee that they`re largely ignoring the fact that the current government has tripled the UK debt despite claiming they were implementing austerity measures to clear it. Few will ask where the money has gone.

There will be some "DISGRACE" headlines about energy company profits, but few will bother to really push for answers.

Somehow immigrants, the poor, the unemployed, single-parents, benefits cheats will be blamed as they are all leeches and how come they get some money to cover energy prices but Bob in his 3 bed semi in Surrey has had to cancel the family holiday to Center Parcs as he can`t justify the expense?

We`re about to cut back public sector jobs as there`s no money yet the services are already cut to the bone.

The big question is - where is all the money going?
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 Re: Social Issues: what can one person do?
Topic Originator: onandupthepars  
Date:   Fri 29 Jul 19:16

Well said, Jake.

About thirty years ago I started a GNVQ in Health and Social Care. I wanted to work at something that helps people. It was while I was doing the GNVQ that I discovered there was a name for the problems that I thought about - `Social Issues`. I read about the state of things then, about poverty in the UK and worldwide. And it was then I discovered that, it wasn`t that there were no solutions for social problems such as absolute poverty, but there wasn`t enough political will to implement them. Reading the `Brandt Report` brought that home to me.

I aimed to be a Nurse, in the meantime, I was advised that if I wanted to work in that field, I should try it out, so I got Care Assistant work. Unfortunately working with people directly in that way didn`t work out for me, there were instances e.g. where I had to take an elderly lady to the toilet, she had Alzheimer`s and, in the cubicle she became alarmed and was shouting and I couldn`t do anything with her. I discovered that it`s a job in which you have to - not just like people and want to help them - but you have to be good at handling situations like that, and get the job done.

I worked in a small Home and in a big one, but I felt I wasn`t cut out for it. I went back to my job as a joiner and got voluntary work with a Humanitarian Aid charity. I did that for the next 18 years.

Sometimes I wished that, if I had my life over, I could have been a surgeon or a paramedic or nurse. But then I`d have had to be a different kind of person. Nevrtheless, I would encourage young folk, if they want to get involved with social problems it`s one way to go - Health and Social Care.

Otherwise, if we`re not able to work in that field, what can we do? Write letters to MPs, get involved with charities and support campaigns, that`s about all I know. Any more suggestions?

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 Re: Social Issues: what can one person do?
Topic Originator: jake89  
Date:   Fri 29 Jul 21:24

You offered help for those who needed it. That`s more than many do. I`ve worked in healthcare and it`s bloody hard. It`s also set up to fail IMO.

Loads of money is chucked at reports and studies looking at social issues. We know the solutions but what gets delivered is a very watered down version. I hear all this talk about 20 minute neighbourhoods, improving housing standards, active travel etc. It`s all in these reports that living in nice surroundings with access to greenspaces and having shops and things within walking distance makes a vast difference in terms of well-being and reducing health inequalities. But what do we see? Yet another housing development designed around cars with the "affordable" homes plunked on the periphery next to a main road, pylon or row of shops.
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 Re: Social Issues: what can one person do?
Topic Originator: onandupthepars  
Date:   Fri 29 Jul 23:42

Do you think healthcare is set up to fail as a way of getting more folk into private insurance? I`ve heard it said we`re going that way.

Town planning is an issue - I suppose all our concerns maybe boil down to the fact that we`re just coming into our prime! - how about you, Jake? - I`m a pensioner - UK just seems less user-friendly than we knew it, when it had a strong community life, Health Service with capacity to spare, jobs galore and politicians who were at least on the same planet as us some of the time.

But what to do, what to do? - One thing I`m very good at for helping others is catching spiders. My wife gives me a lot of practice. Had two tonight. I don`t mind them - they`re a wee bit o` wildlife. Last night, one was crawling stealthily up the wall at the end o` the bed, as if it was really trying not to be seen - didn`t seem to understand that there`s no hiding place for a wee black thing on a magnolia wall. Luckily my wife never saw it. I thought, Och, enjoy yersel` spider - a canny be bothered. 🙂



Post Edited (Fri 29 Jul 23:51)
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 Re: Social Issues: what can one person do?
Topic Originator: jake89  
Date:   Fri 29 Jul 23:59

I`m not sure what will happen but I feel we need an uprising. Enough is enough. I don`t trust Westminster. I`m not sure Holyrood is much better. There is definite corruption and too much power in the media. I guarantee there`ll be dirt on almost all the politicians and this is why the big media groups can control the narrative in this country.

We`re being taken for a ride and it`s the most vulnerable who will suffer the most. I dread to think how my kids will afford a house when they grow up.
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 Re: Social Issues: what can one person do?
Topic Originator: sammer  
Date:   Sat 30 Jul 01:32

If there’s no dirt, the media can create it. Anyone who confronts the status quo can expect to be driven from public life. Look at how George Galloway, Tommy Sheridan, Jeremy Corbyn and Alex Salmond have been subject to lurid headlines and stories over the years.

Contrast their fortunes with two men who were accused of serious sexual offences over several decades but were never subjected to much more than a rudimentary police interview and even that went uncommented on in the MSM. Neither Cyril Smith nor Greville Janner was a threat to the status quo so they were given the Jimmy Savile treatment. Smith was knighted for his services and Jenner appointed to the House of Lords.

sammer
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 Re: Social Issues: what can one person do?
Topic Originator: onandupthepars  
Date:   Sat 30 Jul 07:52

Anyway better not to get too down. Maybe the mighty Alloa will have an off day today and we`ll win!

Post Edited (Sat 30 Jul 08:31)
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 Re: Social Issues: what can one person do?
Topic Originator: jake89  
Date:   Sat 30 Jul 11:19

Onwards and upwards!
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 Re: Social Issues: what can one person do?
Topic Originator: onandupthepars  
Date:   Sat 30 Jul 12:46

Aye - `what can one person do?` - if he`s a Pars player he could score the winner the day - that`d make a big difference tae oor social issue.

Ah no - best no tae hope for too much, gotta take things as they come, usually on the chin.

How`s yer chin the day, Jake? I hope it`s no too sair, or made o` glass!

Post Edited (Sat 30 Jul 12:48)
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 Re: Social Issues: what can one person do?
Topic Originator: Wotsit  
Date:   Sat 30 Jul 14:15

Although I`m literally finding people who are sleeping rough and helping them to find accommodation, my job could be seen as something of a sticking plaster in terms of tackling homelessness because there are problems systemic to how our society is organised which either creates new homeless people or makes it extremely difficult for many to escape from homelessness.

For instance, in Edinburgh it`s not uncommon have addicts living in council funded B&Bs (there are dozens of them run for immense profit by one or two private individuals) in the middle of nowhere with no support and only rats for company. We routinely leave people in these circumstances (moving them between various B&Bs) for two years before we find them permanent housing next door to a dealer, where they are again left with no support before being evicted six months later leaving a trashed flat and traumatised neighbours.

We`ve had a variety of different regimes in place in Edinburgh council whilst this problem has been happening, so the individual can`t even expect voting to make any difference. There doesn`t seem to be much, if anything that one person can do, which is probably why I`m not an individualist, I`d die if I were truly without the help of (lots of) other humans, most of us would.


"Who you are and what you feel comes not just from inside you, but from where you are in the power structure"
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 Re: Social Issues: what can one person do?
Topic Originator: onandupthepars  
Date:   Sat 30 Jul 15:42

Would you say we need more action from top down AND from bottom up. So-called `representation` in UK (on local councils etc) seems to be largely lip-service.

I`m thinking of third world places though where the people who have the problems are sometimes the ones who work to fix them - not by protest but by work in the community, helping to develop, eg better farming and infrastructure, usually with funding from a charity or their government if they`re lucky. Of course I suppose a solution like providing a water supply or school is a no-brainer. Even so, just as an idea - could locals here sometimes be the ones to consult the public on specific issues and needs, devise solutions and take projects forward - even so far as to oversee them, rather than everything going through Local Government offices? I suppose I`m thinking of de-centralisation, I think there`s something of the sort in one or more of Scandinavian countries? Because. like you Wotsit, I think many feel what`s needed here is a sea change.



Post Edited (Sat 30 Jul 15:43)
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 Re: Social Issues: what can one person do?
Topic Originator: Wotsit  
Date:   Sat 30 Jul 16:52

The liberal model sees property as being of more value than people, it denies people shelter, which harms them, because they might harm the property and reduce it`s perceived commercial value.

That`s an example based on my experience, but our society makes similar decisions all over the place. People die because we would rather deny people the resources they need to live than risk the chance that someone else might get something they don`t deserve. People die because the NHS partly makes decisions on drug acquisitions based on economics. People die because politicians lie about foreign leaders they want to overthrow. People die because we uphold the racist and cruel war on drugs.

Everybody with even the slightest chance of becoming Prime Minister supports the status quo all of those situations.

Nicola Sturgeon seems to support most of them.

So how do we change it, if we want to?

EDIT to add: I have been invited to, and have attended, multiple legislative consultation meetings related to my job over the years. The problem isn`t always the policy though. Often if the right policy is in place but it is not implemented in good faith: eg councils have a statutory duty to provide people with "suitable accommodation" but interpret "suitable" in a financially convenient way for themselves.

Post Edited (Sat 30 Jul 16:59)
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 Re: Social Issues: what can one person do?
Topic Originator: onandupthepars  
Date:   Sat 30 Jul 21:07

Wotsit, you mentioned that you are "not an individualist", and I suppose some folk might be wary that to be likewise would mean reduced freedoms, but I begin to see, from googling about Scandinavian parliaments and related stuff, that not being an individualist, is something more akin to a spirit of cooperation and community - which, in the case of Norway, seem to be national characteristics. Maybe they need nurturing here?

I`ve only started looking at this, but it suggests that, maybe there are better ways of government than our so-called `mother of Parliaments`.

A few things that caught my eye:

"Is the Nordic model good?

"The Nordic model has been successful at significantly reducing poverty..." (1)


"What are the advantages of the Nordic model?"

"The Nordic model yields equality and social mobility. Everyone has free access to decent public services, including some of the best education and healthcare in the world, and people appear happy to pay their taxes to make sure that this continues. These collective benefits are merged with entrepreneurship, creating an efficient blend of capitalism and socialism—or “cuddly capitalism,” as some like to call it." (2)

"Is the Nordic model sustainable?"

"There are fears that an aging population, globalization, and growing immigration will gradually tear apart the efficient welfare state of the Nordic model. Taxes can only increase so far, and there is always the risk that a more individualistic culture will begin to evolve. That said, the Nordic model has a habit of overcoming obstacles better than many critics have expected. There are reasons to believe that the basic values behind it are so ingrained in these countries that they will always exist in one form or another." (3)


"Norway is the world`s best democracy..."

"Instead of big personalities with even bigger war chests, the focus here is on how rival political parties can collaborate on policies." (4)


(1) Poverty reduction

#:~:text=The Nordic model has been successful at significantly reducing poverty, and 26.5% 25 in Sweden.


(2) & (3) https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/100714/nordic-model-pros-and-cons.asp


(4) link to story



Post Edited (Sat 30 Jul 21:12)
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 Re: Social Issues: what can one person do?
Topic Originator: Wotsit  
Date:   Sun 31 Jul 07:49

Sweden has the second highest rate of drug deaths in Europe, although a fair bit behind the UK (which is being over represented by the absolutely insane figures in Scotland)

Alcoholism is a massive problem in Finland, despite it costing €8 for a pint and only being able to get spirits in government owned Alki stores. Gambling is too, when I was in Helsinki they had fixed odds machines in every supermarket. Oh and they have one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in Europe. It costs so much to employ anybody that no one wants to hire anyone who requires training or settling in time.

All of the Nordic nations still have huge problems with extreme nationalism.

They are, in my view, better but not for everyone and not in every way.


"Who you are and what you feel comes not just from inside you, but from where you are in the power structure"
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