Harvard Professor Robert Putnam has been recognized for his contribution to political science. According to Wikipedia, he “has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1980), the Council on Foreign Relations (1981), the National Academy of Sciences (2001), and the American Philosophical Society (2005). He was the President of the American Political Science Association (2001–2002). He is the recipient of the Wilbur Cross Medal of Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for outstanding career achievement (2003). In 2006 Robert Putnam received the Johan Skytte Prize for the most valuable contribution to political science.”
But he really should have been recognized for his total lack of vision.
In his seminal (and I mean that for its politically incorrect connotation) 1995 work, “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital,” Putnam bemoans the loss of community. His evidence that social capital is declining rests on eroding membership in women’s charity groups and bowling leagues. The culprits of our societal demise are women in the workforce and the advent of technology that he suspected was “driving a wedge between our individual interests and our collective interests.”
Technology, in Putnam’s view, was isolating and self-centered.
Some may try to cut Putnam some slack. After all, it was 1995 — roughly a decade before the launch of social networking sites like My Space and Facebook. But social networking was alive and well long before grandma started posting pictures on Zuckerberg’s virtual corporate walls. Read More