One of the interesting themes in Arnade’s Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America is the role of capitalism in creating community spaces.
Arnade spends most of his time in the book in three places: McDonald’s, drug dens, and churches. Two of these–McD’s and the drug Ds–are capitalist enterprises: they exist to sell you things, legal or not. Churches are not explicitly capitalist, but can be understood using the same model. They are interested in attracting enough members to cover their operating costs, so a church that does a better job of “selling” religion or provides a more enjoyable religious experience will probably attract more parishioners and will do better financially. (A church that can attract no members is, ultimately, dead.)
The lack of good common spaces that do not require spending money is one of the minor annoyances of my life. I like being outdoors, but it rains out…
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