The general adovocacy of Socialism [...] has altered the standpoint of many people in regard to social obligation. The State and the Municipality are now often regarded as instruments for equalising the economic condition and adjusting the interests of different classes of the population... An industrial system, regulated not by public opinion, but by public enactment, is naturally supplemented by public relief.... The elections have become political, those who go to the poll are but a small proportion of those who have the franchise, and the distribution of relief is often controlled by members of a class who on individual and social grounds desire to increase the amount of it and the number of its recipients. During the last few years of quite unexampled prosperity the relief lists of almost all the London Unions have increased.
With this change has been associated yet another, entirely consistent with the general trend of thought. There is a contraction of interest in personal and voluntary work. Relief, not charity, dominates the position. Societies for the care of young women and servants find it more and more difficult to obtain the help of volunteers. There is a decrease in candidates for the ministry. There is not the same demand for admission to the Settlements for men. The thought of the younger generation of the middle class is turned to new problems. In part, but only to a small ectent, are its member active in poor law or municipal work. Those who have a professional interest in it study its conditions more closely, but the number of students and workers who are attracted to it with a view to personal and voluntary service is less [SW 87].