Monday, July 25, 2005

Clubs in America

The Economist has a special section focussing on the US, and one of the pieces deals with civic and volunteer organizations. It details the forces driving the transition from locally-based clubs like the bowling league and small churches, through the 20th century to where most new organizations are nationally based and run by advocates or professional staff, then through the internet boom, megachurches and meetup.com.

The main lesson is that while the internet can satisfy a piece of our need for community, there are some types of interactions which just have to happen in person to be meaningful--to build the emotional and physical safety of our neighborhoods. We should not let local voluntary organizations erode; history shows that their fortunes wax and wane but they never really fade away.

1 Comments:

At 5:52 PM, Blogger Elliot Essman said...

As an active member of Toastmasters International and former Rotarian, I thoroughly agree. We once had a strong infrastructure of clubs and other voluntary organizations, all of which fostered free exchange and responsible government by their very existence. This heritage is severely threatened in an age of distraction and multi-tasking.

 

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