Will Hatton writing in the Guardian on the "collapse in shared culture" makes some interesting observations :
"....an all-encompassing big-tent culture to which we all belong and which has the power to stigmatise and make individuals shamed is fragmenting into mini subcultures, defining themselves by loyalty to their own and opposition and hatred of the other. Arsenal and Tottenham fans define themselves by mutual detestation; men define their masculinity by objectifying women. Generosity and respect for political opponents grows weaker......Parallel, and reinforcing this cultural fragmentation, is a social fragmentation: the ties that bind communities and neighbourhoods are fraying. Long hours and long commutes make civic and social engagement harder. Our crowded lives offer less chance for friendship, association and the creation of a social life that you would not want to put at risk by being stigmatised for bad behaviour. Together, this collapse in a shared culture, along with weakened social bonds, makes the capacity to shame ever reduced"
Interestingly, he puts this "cultural collapse" to the triumphant notion "that nothing matters except individual fulfilment achieved in unregulated markets, and that all public institutions are essentially inefficient and valueless, the ties that bind are systematically undermined." The idea that what what happens in the economic sphere affects how we live in other areas is one that I have touched on before. The Darwinian notion of "everyone for himself" has led to the falling apart of so fabric. Markets have consequences. And so do ideas!
But what is the answer? Hatton's answer is that "We need a better public space, and philosophy, than [privatisation and personal enrichment]". In short the government needs to help us realise that we are all society together. This human centred solution ignores the depraved nature of man and the fact that what society needs is an objective grounding. In the end Hutton's view of salvation is still man centred and therefore no better than the social Darwinism that drives the market ethos. So it does not move us an inch.