Danger Ahead

Slums Overcrowding and Disease
I have argued that it’s wise to look at the lessons of the past, when we try to foresee the future. During any period of intense change, there will be unexpected consequences and some of them won’t be good. By looking at what happened in the past, we may be able to spot and forstall some of those that are to come.

For example, when agricultural jobs were lost, the old Parish Relief system broke down because there were too many poor people. As people moved to the towns, the system of looking after one’s neighbours didn’t work any more due to the sheer volume of people living closely together - and it was years before a proper State Welfare System was introduced. 

Worse, as people moved into towns, overcrowding led to slums and disease epidemics. Again, it was years before Public Health gained a proper footing. 

Conditions such as these led to disease epidemics.

Now, in the early years of the 21st Century, we can see the changes happening all about us - globalisation, reduced importance of the Nation State, the growth of Super-Cities, the loss of Antibiotics. The things that are happening might be different but the consequences could be just as damaging to us as a cholera epidemic was to the people of the 19th Century.

We should be looking closely at all these things and spotting trouble before it arises. It’s no use sticking to the old ways of doing things until society breaks. We really should be beyond that by now. We should be proactively spotting the consequences and taking action now, not just assuming everything will be OK - because it won’t, unless we act.

But we’re not!

  • Governments across the world are looking backwards, locking our Education Systems into a 19th century model. 
  • The rise of Nationalism flies in the face of the benefits of Globalisation.
  • And the mismanagement of foreign policies and mishandling of immigration has led to the Brexit Referendum, President Trump and the rise of extreme political parties both left and right.

These are the modern incidences of trouble brewing and we ignore them at our peril. In the past, they ignored overcrowding and cholera epidemics, treating both with old, tried and trusted remedies, instead of looking for new and innovative solutions.



That is the end of this section of my website but you can find out more about many of these issues in other sections:


Read more about the Cottage and its Inhabitants.

Read more about Education in the 21st Century.

Read my father’s memoirs: “Witness to a Passing Age”

Read about ICT in schools and why it has changed to Computing


Thank you for reading this section of my website. I do hope you’ve enjoyed it and that you’ll also explore the other sections. Start at my home page or follow the links above.

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© Brian Smith 2015