The [WHATS] of society?
March 5, 2010 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Is there an opposite expression for "the ills of society"?

I'm looking for the opposite of the expression "the ills of society." There are plenty of instances of thihis expression in common usage, but I want a similar phrase that expresses the opposite; that is, how does one say the [bad things] about society but also the [good things].
posted by exlotuseater to Writing & Language (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The ills of society are its bad things.

The good things of society would be its benefits: the benefits of society.

Or perhaps I'm not understanding the question.
posted by dfriedman at 9:09 AM on March 5, 2010

brotherhood of man? little on the chauvinistic side but it kinda gets at what you are saying I think.
posted by ian1977 at 9:09 AM on March 5, 2010

Best answer: The boon of/to civilization?
posted by Cold Lurkey at 9:12 AM on March 5, 2010

Response by poster: Thought of benefits, was looking for maybe something stronger. dfriedman, you are understanding the question correctly-- I'm asking this for a friend and we can't seem to find anything better. Thought we would question the hive mind.
posted by exlotuseater at 9:12 AM on March 5, 2010

I'm not sure there's a correct answer to this question, but how about "the virtues of society", "the triumphs of society", or "the victories of progress"?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:14 AM on March 5, 2010

The good that is in us all.
posted by dowcrag at 9:15 AM on March 5, 2010

Response by poster: "Dylan" and I thank you-- "boon" seems to fit what we were looking for, but I (we) are looking forward to what else y'all might come up with.
posted by exlotuseater at 9:15 AM on March 5, 2010

posted by drlith at 9:19 AM on March 5, 2010

Unfortunately I don't think the word you want exists.

"Ill" in this case is short-hand for "illness" or "disease." The phrase usually talks about "the ills of society" and its "cures" or "the panacea for the ills of society." And there's not really an antonym to "disease" that I can think of.

"Ill" is also used to mean "bad," "badly," or "unwell." For example: Elizabeth Bennett plays the piano very ill, ie, very badly. Or "ill-informed" = "badly-informed." Or "ill" as an adjective to mean "unwell," ie, "sick." With this meaning, the only antonym would be "the goods of society," which sounds silly.
posted by thebazilist at 9:22 AM on March 5, 2010

The fruits of collective action?
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:23 AM on March 5, 2010

There are many such words. Which one you choose depends on tone, ideology, and emphasis.











posted by Jaltcoh at 9:31 AM on March 5, 2010

The ideal word would be something that relates to ills (like a word meaning good health), but I can't think of something like that that would fit.

How about:

Or you could replace "ills":
Society's blights and blessings
Society's pitfalls and rewards
Society's drawbacks and delights
Society's vices and virtues
Society's failures and successes
posted by sallybrown at 9:35 AM on March 5, 2010

life's rich pageant?
posted by jessamyn at 11:08 AM on March 5, 2010

Not quite exactly right but conveys the sense of what you're looking for, I think:
summum bonum
posted by bluejayway at 11:18 AM on March 5, 2010

March of progress?
posted by hollyanderbody at 12:21 PM on March 5, 2010

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