From Publishers Weekly
Devoting a book to the necessity of preserving jobs is perhaps a futile endeavor in this age of deregulation and outsourcing, but veteran New York Times business reporter Uchitelle manages to make the case that corporate responsibility should entail more than good accounting and that six (going on seven) successive administrations have failed miserably in protecting the American people from greedy executives, manipulative pension fund managers, leveraged buyouts and plain old bad business practices. In the process, he says, we've gone from a world where job security, benevolent interventionism and management/worker loyalty were taken for granted to a dysfunctional, narcissistic and callous incarnation of pre-Keynesian capitalism. The resulting "anxious class" now suffers from a host of frightening ills: downward mobility, loss of self-esteem, transgenerational trauma and income volatility, to name a few. Uchitelle animates his arguments through careful reporting on the plight of laid-off Stanley Works toolmakers and United Airlines mechanics. Descriptions of their difficulties are touching and even tragic; they are also, alas, laborious and repetitive. And Uchitelle's solutions are not entirely convincing: neither forcing companies to abide by a "just cause" clause when they fire someone, for instance, nor doubling the minimum wage are likely to increase employment. Yet Uchitelle's basic argument—that no American government has taken significant steps to curb "the unwinding of social value" caused by corporate greed— is all too accurate. (Mar. 31)
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In his first book, Uchitelle, an award--winning business reporter for the New York Times, delves into the unspoken consequences of corporate layoffs in America. He shatters the widely held myth that layoffs are ultimately good for the economy; that in America there is always work, and good pay, for the educated and skilled; and that new training creates jobs. Layoffs, which were mostly a blue-collar phenomena in the 1970s and were necessary to combat the influx of cheap competition from Asia, have become a way of life for corporate America and have cut deep into the white-collar workforce, ending job security as we knew it. Entire classes of people are being caught in a new trend of "downward mobility." Uchitelle takes examples from places such as Stanley Tool Works, the largest employer in New Britain, Connecticut, which slashed the workforce and moved operations overseas, and United Airlines, where mechanics receiving premium wages were "outsourced." Emphasizing the hidden psychological toll that layoffs take on the individual, Uchitelle examines the entire issue in a sympathetic yet realistic light. David Siegfried
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