Community Trends




Community Trends


Social trends have been changing rapidly in recent years. Increased crime, school shootings, bombings, long work hours, “latchkey” children, a high divorce rate, ever-present illegal drugs - all point to significant societal problems.  The results are personal experiences of alienation, isolation, loneliness, competitiveness, economic insecurity and anxiety. Many of these problems arise as a result of urbanization, which eliminates most of the support networks and face to face interactions found in small local communities.  It is the daily interactions in a supportive community that provide the moral and psychological characteristics for a society based on personal qualities rather than economic advantages.

Learn more about these trends:
Bowling Alone
Other:  Readings 

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, a peaceful world seemed assured. A decade later, the risk of conventional and nuclear war appears to be higher than at any time since the Cuban missile crisis. At the same time, inequity in terms of income and wealth distribution is increasing rapidly. And ecological disaster continues to approach, with no apparent reasonable solutions. Pessimism is prevalent throughout the globe.

Competitiveness, greed and general ill will toward others is supported by large scale industrialized and urbanized communities. Small local communities counter the development of these traits. Continual face to face interactions with members of the community combined with joint efforts in addressing community opportunities and threats create the traits of trust, good will and generosity. The solution to the worlds problems is not in organization and technology but in neighborliness and cooperation.

Learn more about these trends:  Readings 

Probably the most disheartening trend of the late 20th century has been the continued growth in inequity of income and wealth distribution. The economic miracles that have been touted since the 1950s show a division of people into a small number of those who are extremely wealthy and a massive number of those living in difficult conditions with many in a state of abject poverty. Only a few decades ago, popular articles were written on the near future when we would have to develop skills to handle the large amounts of leisure time that was expected. Instead, almost all workers are working more hours per week and it is now impossible for most families to survive without both parents working at full time jobs. And corporations have evolved from a time when loyalty and longevity were valued, to a time when very few have any job security. As the work load increases, purchasing power decreases. In small communities these trends are not as extreme. Consumption is less important, competition is less brutal, and neighbors aid with child care and other ways of mutual support.

Learn more about these trends:  Readings 

Education has changed from a process of preparing the young for living well in a culture to a process of job training. There is enormous pressure to attend colleges, not for an education in some.htmlect of living, but rather as a way to achieve a limited number of high paying jobs. This results in severe competition for the better schools for the top 25% of high school students, with the bottom 75%  of high school students unprepared for ordinary living in non professional jobs, or for the ordinary living associated with family and community.  

Small local communities educate their children differently. The face-to-face interactions within the community serve as a “school of living”, not possible in the indifferent relationships of urban life. Education is more holistic and competition, although present, is eased by the cooperation that is part of the life of the community.  Extracurricular events have as much importance as classroom work and are more varied. Competitive sports have less emphasis.

Learn more about these trends:  Readings