Chapter 23 » 23.49

The individual and the community

Many of us live in the more prosperous areas of large cities, or within commuting distance of them. The accumulated decisions we make, together with the accumulated decisions of all our neighbours, help to determine what life is like for the people who live in the inner areas of those cities, and in the large isolated housing estates on their edges. Decisions about where to live, what forms of transport to use, where to spend money, where to send children to school, where to work, whom to employ, where to obtain health services, what to condone, what to protest about, business decisions, personal decisions, political decisions – all these have an effect. Our first and greatest responsibility is to make those decisions in the knowledge of their effect on others.

Nationally we have to face up to the fact that deprived areas are distinguished as much by personal as by collective poverty, and that the only way to tackle personal poverty is to let people have more money. More money for some inevitably means less for others. Are we willing to press for this?

Martin Wyatt, 1986

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