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The pro-social ideal draws strongly on thoughts about social capital. Wonky types have been talking about this for a while: here are useful government papers from 2001 and 2002 (pdfs).

Social capital guru Robert Putnam has been talking about immigration recently. Apparently, ethnic diversity does reduce trust and social solidarity. I find other trends more worrying. In 2003 the average British commute was 35 minutes. Today, it is one hour five minutes. Nick Paumgarten considers the implications in the New Yorker.

And in the week Prospect hailed Charles Taylor as our most important living philosopher, it seems appropriate to end with an essay by the great man. On courage and culture death: sheer genius.

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