Study Guide

Bowling Alone - Section 4: Chapter 16, Introduction Summary & Analysis

Robert D. Putnam
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Section 4: Chapter 16, Introduction Summary and Analysis

Putnam argues that on almost every factor, social capital has declined over the last two generations. Most Americans already know that something has been happening. They feel the changing bonds. Studies suggest that being connected in the civic realm makes people healthier and wealthier, and it is much easier to live with social capital than without it.

Social capital creates a way for people to deal with collective problems and issues. If no one does the work, everyone is worse off than if everyone had pitched in. Things such as limiting water usage and paying taxes are examples of the "free-rider" problem. Social norms and ways of enforcing them are often the best ways of handing these challenges. Social capital also allows communities to run better and more smoothly. When people trust each other, everything operates more...

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This section contains 198 words
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Buy the Bowling Alone Study Guide
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