Society is made up of men and women who group themselves into families, communities, industrial organisations, professional association, trade unions and political parties in order to carry on the business of living, bringing up children, pursuing their occupations and deciding how the fruits of their various labours are to be shared among themselves. The system of production and the nature of the distribution of goods, services, opportunities and rewards are of crucial importance in determining the character of any society, and both are at once a response to and an influence upon other elements in the social structure. The available scientific knowledge and technology, family and kinship organisation, differences of geography, class and race, and prevailing ambitions, beliefs and ideologies all combine to create a complicated pattern of demand and need for a range of activities, experiences, possessions and opportunities. Social policy may be defined as the set of theoretical and working principles in terms of which two broad aspects of society, the supply of and demand for welfare goods and services, are related through public organisation.
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