I am interested in everyone's take on loneliness becoming a subject of social policy, it is in the UK at least and was featured in the media a lot today, which is usually a sign that the government is trying to make it a subject of social awareness.

I wonder about this, mainly for the following reasons:

1. That connection, contact, social interaction (or surrogates, I'm taking into account extroversion/introversion) is a human need. It has been something which was sorted out by the "spontaneous order" in the past, the intangible "community" that people seek and create. (I actually think its what has driven a lot of the internet development and expansion.) I'm not sure if public policy (paternalism?) can accomplish this type of thing, I'm even ambivalent about whether or not it should.

2. Do you think that loneliness is the "new smoking" (it used to be "sitting")? Can it have that level of impact on individual health?

3. Do you think that there are any authors who have written about this well? The only author that springs to mind right away is "Bowling Alone" but this was more centred on US experience and had some odd discussions about politics and "social capital", I cant really think of anything else and I'm not sure that this book even made much in the way of personal or policy recommendations.

4. Can you say that you've opportunities for or have experienced a context in which there's been easy or available social connections? I know that when I was at university, one of the times, one of the campuses there where an incredible amount of clubs and societies and also three bars, two gyms, a running track, pool etc. if you wanted to interaction through sports or dozens of other options it was possible. I've not known anything like it since and the two other times I went to university (both in NI rather than Dublin) it was very different, focused on alcohol or some of traditional sports and cultural divisions.