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Divorce - a Disaster?

Date:6 NOV 2009

Baroness Ruth Deech Gresham Professor of Law

My series of Gresham College lectures on family law this year has two interlocking themes. One is the connection between morality in public life and in private life. The other is the conflict in ideologies or demands that are placed on us in our private and public capacities. I have found these themes to be apt in divorce maintenance attitudes to cohabiting couples gay marriage cousin marriage and inter-generational relationships.

We are speaking in the year of financial collapse and of the gravest moral failings in our politicians. This year's Reith lecturer on Radio 4 Professor Michael Sandel of Harvard addressed the moral failings in our public life whether in the markets in politics in genetics or the control of pollution. He ascribed much of the general moral failing to a marketisation of everything. He said we tend to calculate costs and benefits instead of deciding on attitudes to situations. For example how much do we value the reduction of carbon emissions or in my case the preservation...

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