Magazine
Latest Issue

Can social progress go into reverse?

We don't like to think so—but the case of grammar schools proves that there's always a risk

By Gavin Kelly  

©David Davies/PA Wire/PA Images

Straight line or zig-zag? Different views exist as to the typical trajectory of social progress. Is it a process of incremental gains which consolidate and steadily accumulate over time or does it resemble a jagged and erratic journey—strides forward followed by sharp reversals?

Societies, like people, generally like to think of themselves as steadily advancing. Buried somewhere in our collective unconscious is a Whiggish mind-set: old problems are steadily addressed even as new ones emerge, lessons are learnt and prospects raised. This faith in…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect