There’s a lot of talk about equality these days. Everyone wants to be equal until they want special treatment, and so on and so forth.
But the inequality is real, especially in terms of the poor versus the rich, and the gap is only growing wider, as evidenced by the statistics and anecdotes laid out in Robert Putnam’s Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. The whole idea behind the elusive American Dream is that everyone should be able to work their way up and achieve a good education, good housing, and an income that allows them to live comfortably.
Unfortunately, this is not the case anymore. I have always had a theory that a child’s parents (or whoever the primary caregivers are) and the parents’ living situation, job, income, and education were what caused the child to be successful (or not successful) in life. Our Kids proved that to be true. It then follows that a way to help kids out of poverty and dead-end lives would be to help their parents in the earliest years of the kids’ lives, so they can get that foundation.
That’s probably what I liked best about the book — the fact that it offered solutions to fix the problem and talked about what is most and least likely to work in the real world. Too often, I read a nonfiction book in which the author complains about a problem in the world but doesn’t give any ideas of how to solve it.
This is a great read if you’re interested in sociology, upward mobility, the growing gap between the upper and lower classes, and child development.