America’s Crisis of Civic Virtue

Issue Date April 2024
Volume 35
Issue 2
Page Numbers 23–39
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The world is witnessing a loss of faith in both capitalism and democracy, which seemed nearly unimaginable just a generation ago. Many blame “the other party.” Others blame capitalism’s flaws, as market systems increase inequality, which is inherently undemocratic — and believe the solution is to strengthen government control and weaken market forces in modern economies. This conclusion is incorrect: In fact, capitalism naturally reinforces democracy, but both are under attack by a decline in civic virtue, in the form of honesty and civility, in politics, the media, academia, and other institutions. The reestablishment of civic virtue should be our priority.

About the Author

Arthur C. Brooks teaches at the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School, and from 2009 to 2019 served as president of the American Enterprise Institute. He is a columnist for the Atlantic, and his more than one-dozen books include Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt (2019).

View all work by Arthur C. Brooks

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