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social (community and personal)
problems addressed by TIA:
violence, drug abuse, alcoholism, other addictions, road rage, office
rage, bullying, homelessness, teenage rebellion, thrill-seeking and
depression, major crime, even illiteracy, high divorce rates and
personal problems that lead to neuroses, bankruptcy or emotional
Copyright 2003-2012 BillAllin.com
All Rights Reserved
INSIDE THE BOOK
Social Problems Affect Everyone
problems affect you, me, everybody. Our primary focus through the book
will be problems over which we believe we have no control. We all
suffer from them without knowing what to do about them. We talk about
them in lunchrooms, after church, on the Internet and at social
gatherings. Television news programs, magazines and newspapers are full
of them. We shake our heads, sympathize with each other, feel a little
more uncomfortable with each exposure.
are a way of life with us. We know the effects and costs of personal
problems. They have a way of resolving themselves over time. Our
personal problems mostly affect us and maybe a few others close to us.
Social problems ring in at a different level. They rage through our
communities, out of control because we believe their causes can't be
addressed or even touched by us. They seem to be a necessary evil of
modern life in cities.
we recognize a social problem? After all, we endure all problems
personally. Social problems are shared among many people, not just a
few. They usually involve anti-social behaviour. But not always, since
the perpetrators do not necessarily think they are doing anything
wrong.. They affect strangers as well as friends and family.
society pays to have social workers, police and other government
employees deal with those involved with social problems. Yet the
problems persist. Either these people are incompetent in every city of
the world or we are approaching the problems the wrong way. So we pay
to take ourselves down the same dead end roads year after year.
find yourself on a dead end road that will not take you where you want
to go, change course and find a different route. Finding that different
route is the second step for this book. The first is to convince you
that a new course is needed.
problem affects people directly and indirectly. An indirect effect
would be fear or concern that is generated among members of a community
over a particular problem they have in common. In a sense, you could
say that "a personal problem is what I have" and "a social problem is
what others have that affects me, even if I don't know the individuals
example, a divorce touches the lives of several people, most of whom
know each other. A divorce rate around fifty percent is a social
problem because it not only affects the individuals involved, but it
has an impact on others. For example, school classes have trouble
celebrating Mother's Day or Father's Day because some children lack a
parent in their lives. Children may also lack the influence of one
parent or gender role model in his or her life. This can affect their
behaviour in class, which in turn impacts on the rest of the class.
the ways in which we teach children respect and admiration for their
parents is through activities relating to Mother's Day and Father's
Day. When the celebrations in classrooms stops for reasons of political
correctness, the teaching of respect and admiration for parents on
those occasions stops too. The teaching moment disappears. School
curriculum provides little room for these values to be replaced.
formerly common celebrations within schools, including Christmas, must
be omitted entirely because we fear that some kids will find them
unhappy occasions or be unable to participate. Although we eliminate
Christmas trees and carols, the lessons of goodwill, of caring for
others, of helping and sharing, of giving, disappear. Replacement
teaching situations simply do not happen.
divorce rate affects the topics of television programs and stage plays,
fiction and nonfiction books and even creates the need for support
groups and sometimes intervention by civil authorities who should
otherwise not be involved in family affairs. Divorce, as a social
factor, affects our lives whether or not we are directly involved.
are homeless, you have a personal problem. But homeless people
collectively form a social problem. We believe that all people should
have food to eat, shelter from the weather and clothing to wear. They
need support from strangers because they cannot manage these on their
own. Homeless people, for the most part, are unable to provide for
themselves the basic needs of life. At least not in a socially
even functional illiteracy where people can read but they have trouble
understanding and acting on the written documents that affect their
lives, is a social problem because our businesses slow to accommodate
employees who cannot keep up with the pace. Our health care system is
plugged with people who suffer from stress they are unable to knowingly
attribute to their own inability to cope with what they have read,
either in their jobs or at home.
on residential roads and highways has become a social problem because
people die or are injured in accidents. No one has a good explanation
of why drivers greatly exceed the speed limit. Some of it involves
thrill-seeking and risk-taking. A high-speed, high-stress lifestyle
explains other examples. Some believe that speeding has become a social
norm, acceptable to most drivers but frowned upon by police who need to
fill the public coffers with fines.
gangs don't directly affect the lives of most of us. But they become
social problems when their activities become violent or they sell
illegal materials, behaviours that create fear among strangers to them
because people worry that they might become the next victims. Repeated
emphasis of these activities by the media causes fear, apprehension,
even neuroses among citizens not otherwise involved.
crime exists as a social problem mostly because participation in their
activities is a moral issue. Even having to deal with such people in an
official capacity is considered socially unpleasant.
organizations address the situation of a high demand for certain
services and products for which there is a small or no legal supply.
Honest citizens pay highly from their pockets for organized crime
because they insist that their governments do not become involved
directly in activities associated with organized crime. We pay much
higher taxes because those who use the services of organized crime pay
no tax and we must pay for police, court, legal and prison services so
that our governments can remain at arms length from these highly
profitable business activities.
moral component associated with organized crime activities were
removed, governments could provide clean, safe products and services,
in controlled conditions. If for example governments licensed
prostitutes and verified their state of health and controlled the
distribution of street drugs, our streets, our social services and our
health care system could be relieved of great burdens.
money saved by freeing up police and judicial services and the taxes
earned from these activities, governments could easily conduct
education campaigns that would lower participation in these now illegal
activities. This is a short term solution that might not be acceptable
to the majority of citizens. The purpose of this book is to provide
long term solutions that are agreeable to a large majority of people.
have no trouble collecting money from people for products and services
which they fundamentally condemn. Cigarette smoking has become socially
unacceptable in most parts of North America. Governments collect taxes
from the legal sale of cigarettes, then use the money to campaign
against smoking by educating citizens of its hazards. Yet some less
socially acceptable practices are not taxed.
have begun to turn the corner on some social problems in our
communities. They have not yet done so with others because they are not
supported by their electorate and in some cases they don't know what to
citizens authorize and encourage their governments to directly address
social problems, without allowing ancient moralities and fears to
interfere, can progress be made to eliminate them or at least lessen
their impact over a short term. Those ancient moralities developed when
civilization was in its tribal stage and religions needed to create
rules to control the behaviour of a few people. Now we have police and
laws to serve the same function. Modern social agencies work within
purposes, a social problem will be any behaviour by groups of strangers
that creates fear, worry or concern for you and others in your
many people participate in them, many more are affected, either as
victims or by association (such as by watching television news
reports). Social problems involve almost everyone in some way, even
strangers. For the same reason, social problems require solutions where
people who don't know each other act together to protect their personal
and collective interests. They must act together to remedy situations
that have gone beyond their control and the control of their
governments, their churches and other agencies that directly influenced
citizens and controlled behaviour in the past.
particular problem worries you or concerns you in some way, then you
must be a party to its solution. Social problems do not go away by
themselves, as personal problems sometimes do. When people ignore them
or urge their governments to provide quick solutions by using the
police, courts and hospitals, the problems get worse. Only when the
people affected by a problem acknowledge that it is a problem and work
together on a collective solution can there be any possibility of
no custom or tradition in large societies to create collective
solutions to social problems. Large societies are a relatively new form
of civilization, considering the history of humankind. In tribal
societies, collective solutions to problems were as common as solutions
devised by tribal leaders. Theft, for example, might be handled by
social ostracism for a period of time, such that members of the tribe
would not speak to the offender or help him. For the most part, the
world of the 21st century has evolved past tribal societies into much
larger forms of civilization. In the process of creating our modern
world, we have not developed ways to address and resolve social
problems created by our larger societies.
governments tend to involve us less and less in the daily operation of
our countries as they grow, whether they be democracies, monarchies or
other forms of administration. We don't have time to learn what our
governments are doing. Or we have been led to believe that we don't
have time. Our governments, in turn, believe that they don't have time
to inform us. An uninformed public is the breeding ground for social
problems when people do not act together to address them.
people don't vote because they don't know who is running in an election
or anything about the issues of the day. These people unknowingly
create another social problem called apathy. Governments can run amok,
following whatever policies and paths their leaders want. They know
that most people don't know enough about what is going on to care.
who don't care and don't vote affect you because politicians can rouse
apathetic, uncaring people enough, when needed, to support what those
politicians want. Unaware and uncaring citizens unknowingly become a
non-participating, controlling interest in social policy. Apathetic
citizens affect public policy.
problems can only be addressed and solutions formed when a majority of
people agree that they should. The silence of the silent majority of
people is a social problem in itself. It's up to those who care and who
are interested to rouse the interest of those who don't. That means
that they must read this book and come to realize that they can help to
solve social problems, that they are needed, that they can make a
difference. In fact, social problems cannot be solved without them.
Your encouragement is needed.
modern cities have not created a lot of bad people. They have created a
majority of people who are not conscious of the need for them to
participate in solutions to 21st century problems.
care about finding solutions to social problems must become the ones
who awaken others and keep up their spirits until we can form an active
people have become that way because they have given up hope that
anything can be changed. They don't know the very important information
that you will learn as you read through this book. They don't know that
solutions are within us. It's up to us to make them aware that there is
reason for hope, that solutions are possible, that their participation
is needed and valuable and that the solutions are based on what we all
need to change our beliefs and values. On the contrary, it's critical
that we keep them. We need to change what we do with
Around: Causes and Cures for
Today's Epidemic Social Problems
Writers' Collective, 2005)
Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems