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I’ve been reading a book by Robert Putnam, a professor at Harvard. The book is called "Bowling Alone," and in it, he documents the decline in community life in American over the last four decades. The title comes from a trivial but telling example: the percentage of adults who belong to a bowling league today is only about ¼ of what it was in the 1960’s. Other examples:

· The percentage of people who volunteer in a political campaign - stuffing envelopes, making phone calls, going door to door - is today about half what it was in the late 1960’s.

· Active membership in local clubs and organizations, like the PTA, has dropped by about half, percentage-wise, since the 1970’s.

· People are visiting one another less frequently, having friends over for dinner less frequently, getting together to play cards less frequently.


In short, every objective measure of participation in community and civic life is declining.

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