"Bowling Alone" author Robert Putnam: "Our Kids" and the opportunity gap in America, Feb. 18
By Susan Meikle, university news and communications
The rising inequality gap in America will be a major issue in the presidential election, according to political scientist Robert Putnam, author of Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis (photo © Martha Stewart).
Robert Putnam, author of the best-selling book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, will speak about his research on the opportunity gap in the United States at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, in Taylor Auditorium, Farmer School of Business.
The rising inequality gap in America will be a major issue in the presidential election, according to Putnam. He is the leading expert on the topic — politicians as disparate as President Obama, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton and Paul Ryan have all consulted with him on this issue, Our Kids publisher stated.
The American dream: "Get a good education, work hard, buy a house, and achieve prosperity and success. This is the America we believe in — a nation of opportunity, constrained only by ability and effort," Putnam said. "But during the last 25 years we have seen a disturbing 'opportunity gap' emerge."
"Our Kids shows that we are living in a two-tier social and economic world where the affluent succeed through education and economic opportunity, and the poor struggle unavailingly to rise out of their poverty. Read this book and discover a new America.” - Jill Ker Conway, author, former president of Smith College.
Our Kids has become a springboard for detailed policy prescriptions by some of the country’s top policy experts, according to the Harvard Kennedy School magazine. It is the beginning of what Putnam hopes will be a national conversation, central to the presidential elections as well as to policy experimentation in state and local government.
Putnam is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the British Academy and is past president of the American Political Science Association.
He has received numerous scholarly honors, including the Skytte Prize, the most prestigious global award in political science, and the National Humanities Medal, the nation’s highest honor for contributions to the humanities.
He has written 14 books, translated into more than 20 languages, including Bowling Alone and Making Democracy Work, both among the most cited publications in the social sciences in the last half century.
He has consulted for the last three American presidents, the last three British prime ministers, the last French president, prime ministers from Ireland to Singapore, and hundreds of grassroots leaders and activists in many countries.
The Sunday Times of London has called him “the most influential academic in the world.”
A reception will follow the talk.