Our Kids

April 27th, 2015
our_kids_by_robert_putnam.jpgBack in 1995, Robert Putnam argued in his bestselling book, Bowling Alone, that  civic life in America was declining. That we had reached a kind of apogee from things like the closing of the American mind, our culture of narcissism and the ideas of people like Ayn Rand. The payoff from increased suburbanization also added to the general shift away from engaging with people, that were not exactly like us.

Since then, for the past twenty years, we’ve added technology, changes in the nature of work, globalization, the influence of money and political polarization.  

Today, the proverbial chickens have come home to roost.  We are more socially and class divided, more likely only to send time with people like ourselves, and money and economics are the ultimate determinant of success.

At the turn of the last Century, as we moved from an agrarian to an industrial society, we saw a major shift in values, as we realized that shared values and shared success benefited everyone.

Today, at the turn of this Century, as industrialization gave way to our brain powered economy, exactly the opposite seems to be happening. Our kids today seem to be more siloed than ever. Their future and upward mobility more predetermined than ever before.  

This is the world that Robert Putnam looks at in his remarkable new book Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis'

My conversation with Robert Putnam: