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Friday Five: Where Are the Good Neighbors?

On Fridays we bring you the week’s best from around the web. This week’s round-up highlights a free e-book on poverty in America, an explanation for why we ought to think small—rather than big, and more.

1. Poverty in America—and What to Do About It (FREE E-BOOK)

“Poverty in America” is a compilation of AEI scholars’ thinking on why fighting for the poor is a moral imperative; what demands special attention in the debate; and which policy proposals could enable the labor market, social safety net, and broader society to provide low-income Americans a better shot at success.

2. Why You Have Bad Neighbors by Brian Brown, Humane Pursuits

In the final episodes of “Seinfeld,” the anti-heroes (for that’s what they are) end up in jail for not helping a fellow human in need. They disgust us as viewers, as they disgust the other characters in the show. […] They are so emotionally insulated from anything that might resemble community that it barely crosses their minds to intervene. We think angrily, “They should have done something.”

I’m not sure our children will feel the same way.

3. Values & Socialism? by Michael Hendrix, Values & Capitalism

In this day and age, after the ravages of the financial crisis, it’s become far too easy to find instances of moral laxity among those living under capitalism. Yet among the world’s economic systems, the only greater source of moral decay than the free market is the absence of a free market.

4. The Character Factory by David Brooks, New York Times

Character development is an idiosyncratic, mysterious process. But if families, communities and the government can envelop lives with attachments and institutions, then that might reduce the alienation and distrust that retards mobility and ruins dreams.

5. Think Small to Solve Big Problems with Stephen Dubner, Big Think