How did we become stagnant?

Part of Kropotkin’s argument, and mine, is that in the 19th century the newly created British working class built up from nothing a vast network of social and economic initiatives based on self-help and mutual aid. The list is endless: friendly societies, building societies, sick clubs, coffin clubs, clothing clubs, up to enormous federated enterprises like the trade union movement and the Co-operative movement......

The question that latter-day re-discoverers of that tradition ask is, how did we allow it to ossify (become stagnant)?
— Colin Ward: The Welfare Road We Failed To Take