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Social Progress in Britain$
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Anthony F. Heath

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198805489

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198805489.001.0001

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Beveridge’s Five Giants and Other Challenges to Social Progress

Beveridge’s Five Giants and Other Challenges to Social Progress

(p.1) 1 Beveridge’s Five Giants and Other Challenges to Social Progress
Social Progress in Britain

Anthony F. Heath

Elisabeth Garratt

Ridhi Kashyap

Yaojun Li

Lindsay Richards

Oxford University Press

In his landmark 1942 report on the reform of social insurance Sir William Beveridge talked about the ‘five giants on the road to reconstruction’—the giants of Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor, and Idleness. This introductory chapter sets out the aims of the book, namely to measure how much progress Britain has made in tackling these five giants in the decades since Beveridge wrote, and how Britain’s social progress compares with that of peer countries such as France and Germany. Has Britain’s increased inequality been mirrored in other domains such as health, education, and housing? Have inequalities of opportunity between social classes, men and women, and different ethnic groups increased? And what have been the implications for Britain’s sense of social cohesion?

Keywords:   social progress, poverty, disease, educational standards, overcrowding, unemployment, inequality, equality of opportunity, social cohesion, cross-national comparisons

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