by Sue Gerhardt
Simon & Schuster £12.99
Ambitious and wide ranging, the Selfish Society reveals the vital importance of understanding our early emotional lives, arguing that by focusing on the attention we give to our young children we can create a better society. Open any newspaper and what do you find? Violence and crime, child abuse and neglect, expenses scandals, addiction, fraud and corruption, environmental meltdown. Is Britain indeed broken? How did modern society get to this point? Who is to blame? How can we change? We have come to inhabit a culture of selfish individualism which has confused material wellbeing with happiness. As society became bigger and more competitive, working life was cut off from child rearing and the new economies ignored people’s emotional needs. We have lived with this culture so long that it’s hard to imagine it being any different. Yet we are now at a turning point where the need for change is becoming urgent. If we are to build a more reflective and collaborative society, Gerhardt argues, we need to support the caring qualities that are learnt in early life and integrate them into our political and economic thinking. Inspiring and thought-provoking, the Selfish society sets out a roadmap to a more positive and compassionate future.