Which 21st century social evil is the worst, in your opinion?Which 21st century social evil is the worst, in your opinion?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) is a century old foundation that is devoted to answering a very similar question to the one you pose: what are the social evils of the day, which are the top priority and what are solutions to the social evils. The e-zine Vision attended Royal Society of Arts where the JRF Director, Julia Unwin, spoke about 21st century social evils. In her opinion, the current top social evils are affluence, avarice, alienation and anger. Unwin attributed affluence because of its affect on environmental sustainability and resource renewal.  She defined avarice as greed that goes to the extent of disregarding other humans and considering them nonhuman and expendable, giving one example as the 21st century slavery of human trafficking in women and children.

Unwin described alienation as the continued development of behaviors that treat others as having no dignity or worth, as in domestic abuses and violence, and that fail to treat others with civility and courtesy--old-fashioned, but necessary, words in deed. She defined anger as the result of growing alienation breed by loss of dignity, humanity, civility and courtesy. Anger results in further destructiveness of unity (unity is the opposite of alienation), which engenders self-destructiveness and greater enmity leading to brutality and deaths (as the Internet triggered suicides show).

Audience members added the social evils of the vulgarization of society, extremism, child poverty, environmental (indoor and outdoor) contamination, and spiritual deprivation. It is difficult to choose "the worst," but if pressed to a point, I might personally begin with the twin evils (one intellectual, cognitive and spiritual, the other relating to health and quality of life) of the vulgarization of society (e.g., movies, music, magazines, teen sexuality, etc.), because it breeds alienation and anger and avaracie, and the contamination of our indoor and outdoor environment, because it breeds dignity destroying health problems, like obesity and attention disorders as current research is proving.

[Below is the link to the article about JRF's Driector Julia Unwin's speech as reported in Vision.]

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The P21 coalition for 21st century teaching and learning advises and encourages all learning instututions to embrace technology from an instrumentalist point of view, that is, applying the use of the internet, technology applications, computers, extended learning in every single aspect of the learning experience.

However, the social evil continues to be monopoly and mismanagement of educational funds. The result of what the P21 wants and what the American classroom offers are two different things. While the P21, research and many experimental models have shown the importance of integrative learning, the budget of the public school systems continue to suffer in priorities that may not be priorities if they were revised.

What we have now is a generation of milennial learners who learn more techonology at home than at school. They cannot expand their learning opportunities at school because there is never enough money to provide all the tools, machines, instruments, and training to get these kids to their levels- in other words: The students are teaching technology to their generation X teachers.

I believe that this is a social evil because ultimately it will result in the cancellation of a myriad of possible projects due to the fact that there will not be enough evidence to show that a grant for technology would work in a school that has not put it into practice in the first place.


enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Evil suggests some malicious Satanesque intelligence behind the phenomenon.  What we would attribute to be 'evils' are simply problems to be solved.  Every process, every phenomenon that expresses itself can be understood eventually, and if decided that it is not beneficial, it can be changed.  The biggest problem, as suggested above, is the increasing human population -- from this one issue all others derive -- environmental degradation, depletion of resources, unstable politics, etc.  However, this problem, created by technology and economics, will be solved by technology and economics.  Over half the world's population resides in two countries; once China and India fully industrialize, their populations will decrease, as they have done in other industrialized countries, and level.  But for the next 50 years or so, we're in for a wild ride......

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After reading the two previous posts, I almost feel silly admitting that cell phone addiction and texting while driving irk me the most. Cells and I-Pods in schools cause constant distractions, while the texting addiction while even behind the wheel is becoming a deadly problem for anyone on the road.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I actually agree with the post who mentioned texting. I think this is dangerous because we as a society are losing our socializations skills which are very important. I believe this issue is going to continue to get worse and worse as well. I see teenagers using their phones like a life line.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I think that are biggest problem is the same as it has always been. There are too many wars, and no one trying to stop them. The conflict in Africa and the Middle East troubles me. The fact that so many people in the world go about their everyday lives and ignore the strife troubles me.
giorgiana1976 | Student

Negative aspects are mainly due to population growth, developments in the industry due to technological progress in the last two centuries. People dropped their traditional lifestyle and have lost their moral and religious values .

epollock | Student

I think that most of the seven deadly sins are adequate for the question itself. For contemporary sins, I would say laziness or greed, with a touch of lust thrown in for good measure.