A Working Nation: Workers, Work, and Government in the New Economy

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The nature of work in the United States is changing dramatically, as new technologies, a global economy, and more demanding investors combine to create a far more competitive marketplace. Corporate efforts to respond to these new challenges have yielded mixed results. Headlines about instant millionaires and innovative e-businesses mingle with coverage of increasing job insecurity and record wage gaps between upper management and hourly workers. A Working Nation tracks the profound implications the changing workplace has had for all workers and shows who the real economic winners and losers have been in the past twenty-five years. A Working Nation sorts fact from fiction about the new relationship between workers and firms, and addresses several critical issues: Who are the real winners and losers in this new economy? Has the relationship between workers and firms really been transformed? How have employees become more integrated into or disconnected from corporate strategies and performance? Should government step into this new economic reality and how should it intervene? Among the topics investigated, David T. Ellwood explores and explains the apparent paradox between the steady rise in per capita national income and the stagnant wages of middle- and working-class workers. Douglas Kruse and Joseph Blasi study relative changes in long-term vs. temporary work, and evaluate the introduction of profit-sharing schemes and high performance workplace programs. William A. Niskanen and Rebecca M. Blank, both former members of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, offer their perspectives on what direction government might take to make this a working nation for everyone. Though Niskanen and Blank take alternative approaches, they both conclude that the primary policy emphasis ought to be on the problems of the least skilled more than on inequality per se, and that a focus on childhood education and tax supports for low-income working families should be of primary concern. A Working Nation paints a compelling and surprisingly consistent picture of today's workplace. While the booming economy has created millions of new jobs, it has also lead to an alarmingly unbalanced system of rewards that puts less-skilled, and many middle-class, workers at risk. This book is essential reading for those seeking the most efficient answers to the challenges and opportunities of the evolving economy.
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About the author

DAVID T. ELLWOOD is Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He is also director of the Aspen Domestic Strategy Group. REBECCA M. BLANK was a member of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton. She is Henry Carter Adams Collegiate Professor of Public Policy, dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and professor of economics at the University of Michigan. JOSEPH BLASI is professor of sociology at the School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University. DOUGLAS KRUSE is professor of economics at the School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University. He is also research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. WILLIAM A. NISKANEN was a member of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Reagan and is chairman of the Cato Institute. KAREN LYNN-DYSON is associate director of the Aspen Institute's Domestic Strategy Group.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Russell Sage Foundation
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Published on
Sep 14, 2000
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Pages
168
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ISBN
9781610441803
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economics / General
Business & Economics / General
Business & Economics / Labor
Political Science / American Government / General
Social Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Critically acclaimed journalist Ellen Ruppel Shell uncovers the true cost--political, economic, social, and personal--of America's mounting anxiety over jobs, and what we can do to regain control over our working lives.

Since 1973, our productivity has grown almost six times faster than our wages. Most of us rank so far below the top earners in the country that the "winners" might as well inhabit another planet. But work is about much more than earning a living. Work gives us our identity, and a sense of purpose and place in this world. And yet, work as we know it is under siege.

Through exhaustive reporting and keen analysis, The Job reveals the startling truths and unveils the pervasive myths that have colored our thinking on one of the most urgent issues of our day: how to build good work in a globalized and digitalized world where middle class jobs seem to be slipping away. Traveling from deep in Appalachia to the heart of the Midwestern rust belt, from a struggling custom clothing maker in Massachusetts to a thriving co-working center in Minnesota, she marshals evidence from a wide range of disciplines to show how our educational system, our politics, and our very sense of self have been held captive to and distorted by outdated notions of what it means to get and keep a good job. We read stories of sausage makers, firefighters, zookeepers, hospital cleaners; we hear from economists, computer scientists, psychologists, and historians. The book's four sections take us from the challenges we face in scoring a good job today to work's infinite possibilities in the future. Work, in all its richness, complexity, rewards and pain, is essential for people to flourish. Ellen Ruppel Shell paints a compelling portrait of where we stand today, and points to a promising and hopeful way forward.
The government is not a neutral arbiter of truth. It never has been. It never will be. Doubt everything. John Stossel does. A self-described skeptic, he has dismantled society’s sacred cows with unerring common sense. Now he debunks the most sacred of them all: our intuition and belief that government can solve our problems. In No, They Can’t, the New York Times bestselling author and Fox News commentator insists that we discard that idea of the “perfect” government—left or right—and retrain our brain to look only at the facts, to rethink our lives as independent individuals—and fast.

With characteristic tenacity, John Stossel outlines and exposes the fallacies and facts of the most pressing issues of today’s social and political climate—and shows how our intuitions about them are, frankly, wrong:

• the unreliable marriage between big business, the media, and unions

• the myth of tax breaks and the ignorance of their advocates

• why “central planners” never create more jobs and how government never really will

• why free trade works—without government Interference

• federal regulations and the trouble they create for consumers

• the harm caused to the disabled by government protection of the disabled

• the problems (social and economic) generated by minimum-wage laws

• the destructive daydreams of “health insurance for everyone”

• bad food vs. good food and the government’s intrusive, unwelcome nanny sensibilities

• the dumbing down of public education and teachers’ unions

• how gun control actually increases crime

. . . and more myth-busting realities of why the American people must wrest our lives back from a government stranglehold.

Stossel also reveals how his unyielding desire to educate the public with the truth caused an irreparable rift with ABC (nobody wanted to hear the point-by- point facts of ObamaCare), and why he left his long-running stint for a new, uncensored forum with Fox. He lays out his ideas for education innovation as well and, finally, makes it perfectly clear why government action is the least effective and desirable fantasy to hang on to. As Stossel says, “It’s not about electing the right people. It’s about narrowing responsibilities.” No, They Can’t is an irrefutable first step toward that goal.
Private equity firms have long been at the center of public debates on the impact of the financial sector on Main Street companies. Are these firms financial innovators that save failing businesses or financial predators that bankrupt otherwise healthy companies and destroy jobs? The first comprehensive examination of this topic, Private Equity at Work provides a detailed yet accessible guide to this controversial business model. Economist Eileen Appelbaum and Professor Rosemary Batt carefully evaluate the evidence—including original case studies and interviews, legal documents, bankruptcy proceedings, media coverage, and existing academic scholarship—to demonstrate the effects of private equity on American businesses and workers. They document that while private equity firms have had positive effects on the operations and growth of small and mid-sized companies and in turning around failing companies, the interventions of private equity more often than not lead to significant negative consequences for many businesses and workers. Prior research on private equity has focused almost exclusively on the financial performance of private equity funds and the returns to their investors. Private Equity at Work provides a new roadmap to the largely hidden internal operations of these firms, showing how their business strategies disproportionately benefit the partners in private equity firms at the expense of other stakeholders and taxpayers. In the 1980s, leveraged buyouts by private equity firms saw high returns and were widely considered the solution to corporate wastefulness and mismanagement. And since 2000, nearly 11,500 companies—representing almost 8 million employees—have been purchased by private equity firms. As their role in the economy has increased, they have come under fire from labor unions and community advocates who argue that the proliferation of leveraged buyouts destroys jobs, causes wages to stagnate, saddles otherwise healthy companies with debt, and leads to subsidies from taxpayers. Appelbaum and Batt show that private equity firms’ financial strategies are designed to extract maximum value from the companies they buy and sell, often to the detriment of those companies and their employees and suppliers. Their risky decisions include buying companies and extracting dividends by loading them with high levels of debt and selling assets. These actions often lead to financial distress and a disproportionate focus on cost-cutting, outsourcing, and wage and benefit losses for workers, especially if they are unionized. Because the law views private equity firms as investors rather than employers, private equity owners are not held accountable for their actions in ways that public corporations are. And their actions are not transparent because private equity owned companies are not regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Thus, any debts or costs of bankruptcy incurred fall on businesses owned by private equity and their workers, not the private equity firms that govern them. For employees this often means loss of jobs, health and pension benefits, and retirement income. Appelbaum and Batt conclude with a set of policy recommendations intended to curb the negative effects of private equity while preserving its constructive role in the economy. These include policies to improve transparency and accountability, as well as changes that would reduce the excessive use of financial engineering strategies by firms. A groundbreaking analysis of a hotly contested business model, Private Equity at Work provides an unprecedented analysis of the little-understood inner workings of private equity and of the effects of leveraged buyouts on American companies and workers. This important new work will be a valuable resource for scholars, policymakers, and the informed public alike.
The bible of grassroots fundraising, updated with the latest tools and methods

Fundraising for Social Change is the preeminent guide to securing funding, with a specific focus on progressive nonprofit organizations with budgets under $5 million. Used by nonprofits nationally and internationally, this book provides a soup-to-nuts prescription for building, maintaining, and expanding an individual donor program. Author Kim Klein is a recognized authority on all aspects of fundraising, and this book distills her decades of expertise into fundraising strategies that work. This updated seventh edition includes new information on the impact of generational change, using social media effectively, multi-channel fundraising, and more, including expanded discussion on retaining donors and on legacy giving. Widely considered the 'bible of grassroots fundraising,' this practically-grounded guide is an invaluable resource for anyone who has to raise money for important causes. A strong, sustainable fundraising strategy must possess certain characteristics. You need people who are willing to ask and realistic goals. You need to gather data and use it to improve results, and you need to translate your ideas in to language donors will understand. A robust individual donor program creates stable and long-term cash flow, and this book shows you how to structure your fundraising appropriately no matter how tight your initial budget.

Develop and maintain a large base of individual donors Utilize strategies that pay off sooner rather than later Expand your reach and get your message out to the donor pool Translate traditional fundraising methods into strategies that work for social justice organizations with little or no front money

Basing your fundraising strategy on the contributions of individual donors may feel like herding cats—but it's the best way for your organization to maintain maximum freedom to pursue the mission that matters. A robust, organized, planned approach can help you reach your goals sooner, and Fundraising for Social Change is the field guide for putting it all together to make big things happen.

New York Times Bestseller

“Schlosser has a flair for dazzling scene-setting and an arsenal of startling facts . . . Fast Food Nation points the way but, to resurrect an old fast food slogan, the choice is yours.”—Los Angeles Times

In 2001, Fast Food Nation was published to critical acclaim and became an international bestseller. Eric Schlosser’s exposé revealed how the fast food industry has altered the landscape of America, widened the gap between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and transformed food production throughout the world. The book changed the way millions of people think about what they eat and helped to launch today’s food movement.

In a new afterword for this edition, Schlosser discusses the growing interest in local and organic food, the continued exploitation of poor workers by the food industry, and the need to ensure that every American has access to good, healthy, affordable food. Fast Food Nation is as relevant today as it was a decade ago. The book inspires readers to look beneath the surface of our food system, consider its impact on society and, most of all, think for themselves.

“As disturbing as it is irresistible . . . Exhaustively researched, frighteningly convincing . . . channeling the spirits of Upton Sinclair and Rachel Carson.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Schlosser shows how the fast food industry conquered both appetite and landscape.”—The New Yorker

Eric Schlosser is a contributing editor for the Atlantic and the author of Fast Food Nation, Reefer Madness, and Chew on This (with Charles Wilson).
As Americans experiment with dismantling the nation's welfare system, clichés and slogans proliferate, ranging from charges that the poor are simply lazy to claims that existing antipoverty programs have failed completely. In this impeccably researched book, Rebecca Blank provides the definitive antidote to the scapegoating, guesswork, and outright misinformation of today's welfare debates. Demonstrating that government aid has been far more effective than most people think, she also explains that even private support for the poor depends extensively on public funds. It takes a nation to fight a problem as pervasive and subtle as modern poverty, and this book argues that we should continue to implement a mix of private and public programs. Federal, state, and local assistance should go hand in hand with private efforts at community development and personal empowerment and change.

The first part of the book investigates the changing nature of poverty in America. Poverty is harder to combat now than in the past, both because of the changing demographics of who is poor as well as the major deterioration in earnings among less-skilled workers. The second part of the book delves into policies designed to reduce poverty, presenting evidence that many though not all programs have done exactly what they set out to do. The final chapters provide an excellent review of recent policy changes and make workable suggestions for how to improve public assistance programs to assure a safety net, while still encouraging poor adults to find employment and support their families.

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