How Do We Fix It podcast (26 min) — have a listen here.
Even before coronavirus led to social distancing, widespread working from home, and lockdown restrictions, loneliness was becoming a defining condition of the twenty-first century. Today, this pandemic of pain and isolation is far worse.
One of many recent polls found that more than three in five Americans say they are lonely, with more and more people reporting feeling like they are left out, poorly understood, and lacking companionship. Other surveys overseas have similar findings.
Our guest, the British economist, Noreena Hertz, is the author of “The Lonely Century: How to Restore Human Connection in a World Pulling Apart.” Her new book, published February 2, is a personal and deeply-researched investigation into the roots of the loneliness epidemic, how the pandemic and the 2020 election exacerbated the problem, and what we can do to come together.
“Loneliness levels have significantly and not surprisingly increased during the pandemic, particularly among the young, women, and people of low income”, Noreena tells us.
In our interview, we discuss the importance of the workplace in enhancing community, the need to reinvigorate our neighborhoods, and how governments and private enterprise can react to the increase in loneliness and alienation. We also learn more about the link between loneliness and the rise of right-wing populism.