A relational society
This essay is primarily concerned with the kinds of relationship with others on which individuals depend for their well-being, through the various phases of their lives. It focuses particularly on the quality of our social institutions – in the spheres, for example, of health, education, work, criminal justice or citizenship – and argues that their quality depends substantially on what qualities of human relationship they facilitate. We are all dependent at various stages of our lives, and social provision needs to reflect this. Current neoliberal practices are undermining the quality of such provision. A final section considers the effects of a narrowly instrumental world view on relationships between humankind and the material world.