By Michael Gecan

An established group organizer outlines the way to opposite the fifty-year decline in social mobility and monetary growth.

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After America's Midlife Crisis (Boston Review Books)

An established group organizer outlines how to opposite the fifty-year decline in social mobility and financial development.

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Extra resources for After America's Midlife Crisis (Boston Review Books)

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Boat. The unwritten deal had a major downside: a license to steal, a root cause of the endemic corruption in Illinois. Second, the machine had to keep finding ways to deliver jobs, contracts, favors, and opportunities for profit to its most loyal supporters. Real estate, zoning, insurance, and title work have always been mainstays, as has tax assessment. Private and public colleges, including community colleges with construction and patronage opportunities, have played bigger and bigger roles. Hospitals and medical centers are today’s troughs.

But I worry very much about their two cultures—how they have been formed, about how they have prospered while so much of America has faded; how much evil they have tolerated or ignored; and whether they will grapple with deepening and multiplying institutional crises. There is a chance the president learned some approaches and lessons, skills and tools, from the world of organizing that may prove useful in the years ahead.  after america’s midlife crisis Although his organizing tenure is short in comparison to his legal, teaching, writing, or political careers, he might be more open to these lessons than any of his predecessors.

Private colleges and hospitals will became fiefdoms—supplying their own security, sanitation, even housing at times. Private schools for those who can afford them multiply. Gated communities have become the norm. Most suburbs had little public housing or public transportation to begin with. But the logic for anything “public” will be challenged as revenue to support any shared public activity shrinks. The forces for and against public effort, public institutions, and public life will soon collide in the public schools and public safety agencies of the suburbs.

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