Alienated America: Why Some Communities Thrive While Others Collapse

Tim Carney, author of “Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse,” visited all corners of America, from the dim country bars of southwestern Pennsylvania to the bustling Mormon wards of Salt Lake City, and provides the most important data and research to explain why failing social connections are responsible for the great divide in America. Alienated America confirms the suspicion of some conservatives that job-training programs or other public policy solutions alone are not sufficient to fix these places, and it strengthens a liberal narrative that new Trump voters aren’t coming to his rallies for the corporate tax cuts and Obamacare repeal.

In some parts of the United States, life seems to be getting worse because citizens are facing their problems alone. These communities have seen declines in marriage, voting, church attendance, and volunteer work. Even when money comes back to town, happiness does not return if people there do not reengage. The educated and wealthy elites, on the other hand, tend to live in places where institutions are strong or have enough money to insulate themselves.
Not only did audience members hear about one of the most talked-about books of 2019, they learned what Carney proposes as remedies to our challenges. Plus, a distinguished panel of local respondents offers their thoughts on alienation in America, the fracturing of public life, the challenges of building vibrant communities, and opportunities for faith communities in addressing some of these issues. Panelists include Dean Laura Bloomberg of the U of M Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Charles Marohn the Founder and President of Strong Towns, Deacon Steve Pareja the Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud, and Brad Finstad the MN State Director of Rural Development, US Department of Agriculture.
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