In a period of increased polarization in domestic politics, fragmentation of society and social inequity, efforts to adapt and grow to meet myriad challenges of the 21st century should begin at the local level. Germany and the United States face many of the same domestic challenges, and local communities in both countries can learn from each other’s approaches to these issues.
Most Americans and Germans enjoy an unprecedented standard of living. Nevertheless, many people in both countries believe something is wrong, regardless of income level. Many Germans and Americans feel left behind even though economic indices are generally positive in both countries. This impression is having a serious impact on our societies and cannot simply be reduced to economic angst. There is a sense that our social fabric is fraying, our social market-based economic systems are failing and our societies are changing so rapidly that people cannot keep pace.