The outstanding moral problem of our time is the emergence of an underclass, provoking both pity and an angry political backlash. Robin Marris finds that a slowdown in growth is the root cause, leading to a collapse of the labour market for unskilled men in particular. Fashionable solutions such as lower wages or welfare reform benefit those already well-off, and exacerbate growing income inequality. He employs statistical, sociological and psychological analysis and new developments in 'brain science' to show how the creation of an open society with increased equality of opportunity risks creating an unnecessarily excessive meritocracy. The solution is restoring national and international priority to the objective of growth. If this fails, damage limitation is essential. We must learn to live with the welfare state.