22 Apr, 2015

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert D Putnam review

The Observer | Society | Richard Reeves | Monday 20 April 2015

Abstract : This gap amounts, Putnam fears, to a “crisis” for the American dream of equal opportunity. Advantages pile up for the kids born to the right parents, all but guaranteeing their own success in life – in stark contrast to the fates of those struggling at the bottom. The difference between “haves” and “have-nots” was once economic. Differences in social trust, family life, parenting and community vitality were minimal. Now, though, the haves have it all.

Putnam presents dozens of “scissors graphs” showing the top pulling away from the bottom in relation to school sports, obesity, maternal employment, single parenthood, financial stress, college graduation, church attendance, friendship networks, college graduation and – revealing a small obsession of Putnam’s – family dinners