Can anyone be trusted in America? Can we find a way to repair the broken trust?

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Robert Putnam, sociologist and author of Bowling Alone, believes that the key to solving America’s declining social trust is through a moral reawakening. He argues that the current crisis can’t be explained by political or economic factors alone and hopes for a broader moral transformation of society. Although measurements of social and political trust continue to decline, Putnam finds hope in the visions of young political activists, such as David Hogg and Greta Thunberg, who are pushing for political change through moral transformation. Putnam believes that America is not necessarily approaching complete social bankruptcy but warns that it is not a given that another upswing in social capital is on the horizon. He expressed surprise at how the decline in social capital, which he first identified in Bowling Alone, has become politicized and a touchstone of resurgent populist movements on the left and right. Putnam also discussed the decline of trust in government, which he argues can be traced to very specific incidents: the Vietnam War, Watergate, and how well the economy is doing.

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