The American Paradox: Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty

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9780300091205: The American Paradox: Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty

For Americans entering the twenty-first century, it is the best of times and the worst of times. Material wealth is at record levels, yet disturbing social problems reflect a deep spiritual poverty. In this compelling book, well-known social psychologist David G. Myers asks how this paradox has come to be and, more important, how we can spark social renewal and dream a new American dream.

Myers explores the research on social ills from the 1960s through the 1990s and concludes that the materialism and radical individualism of this period have cost us dearly, imperiling our children, corroding general civility, and diminishing our happiness. However, in the voices of public figures and ordinary citizens he now hears a spirit of optimism. The national dialogue is shifting away from the expansion of personal rights and toward enhancement of communal civility, away from efforts to raise self-esteem and toward attempts to arouse social responsibility, away from whose values?” and toward our values.” Myers analyzes in detail the research on educational and other programs that deal with social problems, explaining which seem to work and why. He then offers positive and well-reasoned advice, suggesting that a renewed social ecology for America will rest on policies that balance me thinking” with we thinking.”

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In response to Ronald Reagan's famous question, "Are we better off than we were 40 years ago?" The answer would have to be "materially yes, morally no," writes social psychologist David Myers. "Therein lies the American paradox," he continues. "We now have, as average Americans, doubled real incomes and double what money buys. We have espresso coffee, the World Wide Web, sport utility vehicles, and caller ID. And we have less happiness, more depression, more fragile relationships, less communal contentment, less vocational security, more crime (even after the recent decline), and more demoralized children."

Myers shuns the label of conservative or liberal, preferring to see himself as a social ecologist who abhors the dominance of material values. In fact, Myers is a visionary who asks important questions, such as why is marriage so difficult to maintain in our culture? Why are so many fathers abandoning families? Are rich people happier than poor people? What is the price we pay for radical individualism? He answers these questions with persuasive statistics and sound advice that cannot be neatly pigeonholed into one political camp or the other. As a result, this is a author with credibility, as he covers crucial chapters such as "The Past and Future of Marriage," "Money and Misery," "Educating for a Moral Compass," and "America's Children." --Gail Hudson

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Selected by Christianity Today for an Award of Merit in the Spirituality Category

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Book Description Yale University Press, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. For Americans entering the twenty-first century, it is the best of times and the worst of times. Material wealth is at record levels, yet disturbing social problems reflect a deep spiritual poverty. In this compelling book, well-known social psychologist David G. Myers asks how this paradox has come to be and, more important, how we can spark social renewal and dream a new American dream. Myers explores the research on social ills from the 1960s through the 1990s and concludes that the materialism and radical individualism of this period have cost us dearly, imperiling our children, corroding general civility, and diminishing our happiness. However, in the voices of public figures and ordinary citizens he now hears a spirit of optimism. The national dialogue is shifting-away from the expansion of personal rights and toward enhancement of communal civility, away from efforts to raise self-esteem and toward attempts to arouse social responsibility, away from whose values? and toward our values. Myers analyzes in detail the research on educational and other programs that deal with social problems, explaining which seem to work and why. He then offers positive and well-reasoned advice, suggesting that a renewed social ecology for America will rest on policies that balance me thinking with we thinking. Bookseller Inventory # BZV9780300091205

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