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The Disposable American

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The Disposable American Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The Disposable American is an eye-opening account of layoffs in Americatheir questionable necessity, their overuse, and their devastating impact on individuals at all income levels. Yet despite all this, they are accelerating.

The award-winning New York Times economics writer Louis Uchitelle explains how, in the mid-1970s, the first major layoffs, initiated as a limited response to the inroads of foreign competition, spread and multiplied, in time destroying the notion of job security and the dignity of work. We see how the barriers to layoffs tumbled, and how by the late 1990s the acquiescence was all but complete.

In a compelling narrative, the author traces the rise of job security in the United States to its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, and then the panicky U-turn. He describes the unraveling through the experiences of both executives and workers: three CEOs who ran the Stanley Works, the tool manufacturer, from 1968 through 2003, who gradually became more willing to engage in layoffs; highly skilled aircraft mechanics in Indianapolis discarded as United Airlines shut down a state-of-the-art maintenance facility, damaging the city as well as the workers; a human resources director at Citigroup, declared nonessential despite excellent performance; a banker in Connecticut lucky to find a lower-paying job in a state tourist office.

Uchitelle makes clear the ways in which layoffs are counterproductive, rarely promoting efficiency or profitability in the long term. He explains how our acquiescence encourages wasteful mergers, outsourcing, the shifting of production abroad, the loss of union protection, and wage stagnation. He argues against our ongoing public policyinaugurated by Ronald Reagan and embraced by every president sinceof subsidizing retraining for jobs that, in fact, do not exist. He breaks new ground in documenting the failure of these policies and in describing the significant psychological damage that the trauma of a layoff invariably inflicts, even on those soon reemployed. It is damage that, multiplied over millions of layoffs, is silently undermining the nations mental health.

While recognizing that in todays global economy some layoffs must occur, the author passionately argues that government must step in with policies that encourage companies to restrict layoffs and must generate jobs to supplement the present shortfall.There are specific recommendations for achieving these goals and persuasive arguments that workers, business, and the nation will benefit as a result.

An urgent, essential book that tells for the first time the story of our long and gradual surrender to layoffsfrom a writer who has covered the unwinding for nearly twenty years and who now bears witness.

Review:

"In 1997, the board of directors of the Stanley Works, a Connecticut tool company, lured its new chief executive, John M. Trani, away from General Electric with a compensation package that was two or three times those given to any of his predecessors since its founding in 1873. Like many of his peers at other U.S. companies at the time, Trani closed plants, cut costs, downsized and outsourced the company's... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Emphasizing the hidden psychological toll that layoffs take on the individual, Uchitelle examines the entire issue in a sympathetic yet realistic light." Booklist

Review:

"Highly skilled aircraft mechanics, production workers, and middle managers share their stories of emotional exhaustion and economic downgrading in this heart-wrenching book." Library Journal

Review:

"Many readers know Mr. Uchitelle as a business journalist with an acute analytic bent. That is in this book, but there is a surprising passion as well. He urges...that Americans speak up: not to give empty speeches about how more of us should go to college, or 'skill up,' but to stop the layoffs from ravaging us all." New York Times

Book News Annotation:

Uchitelle (The New York Times) traces the rise and fall of job security in the United States and its impact on the American economy and society. True to his journalistic background, he switches his lens back and forth between telescopic discussions of wide historical trends and economic and societal processes to focusing in on the individual experiences of individual workers and companies. Arguing that the current situation is harmful to individuals and the wider society, he ends his book with recommendations of legislation that can minimize and mitigate corporate layoffs.
Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Book News Annotation:

Uchitelle (The New York Times) traces the rise and fall of job security in the United States and its impact on the American economy and society. True to his journalistic background, he switches his lens back and forth between telescopic discussions of wide historical trends and economic and societal processes to focusing in on the individual experiences of individual workers and companies. Arguing that the current situation is harmful to individuals and the wider society, he ends his book with recommendations of legislation that can minimize and mitigate corporate layoffs. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Layoffs have become a fact of life in today’s economy; initiated in the mid 1970s, they are now widely expected, and even accepted. It doesn’t have to be that way.In The Disposable American, award-winning reporter Louis Uchitelle offers an eye-opening account of layoffs in America–how they started, their questionable necessity, and their devastating psychological impact on individuals at all income levels. Through portraits of both executives and workers at companies such as Stanley Works, United Airlines, and Citigroup, Uchitelle shows how layoffs are in fact counterproductive, rarely promoting efficiency or profitability in the long term. Recognizing that a global competitive economy makes tightening necessary, Uchitelle offers specific recommendations for government policies that would encourage companies to avoid layoffs and help create jobs, benefiting workers, corporations, and the nation as a whole.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Synopsis:

Louis Uchitelle worked as a reporter, editor, and foreign correspondent for the Associated Press until he joined The New York Times in 1980 as a business editor; he has written about economics for the Times since 1987 and was designated Senior Writer in 1994, joining a select group honored for achievement. In the early 1990s his reporting on the former Soviet Union's plunge into capitalism earned him a Pulitzer nomination, and he shared a George Polk award as lead writer on the seven-part Times series, "The Downsizing of America," in 1996. He taught feature writing at Columbia University and has been a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

Louis Uchitelle worked as a reporter, a foreign correspondent, and the editor of the business news department at the Associated Press before joining The New York Times in 1980. He has been writing about business, labor, and economics for the Times since 1987. He was the lead reporter for the Times series "The Downsizing of America," which won a George Polk Award in 1996. He has taught at Columbia University and was a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York in 2002?2003. He lives with his wife, Joan, in Scarsdale, New York.

Table of Contents

Myths that bind — The Stanley works — The rise of steady work — Retraining the mechanics--but for what? — The shock, part 1 — The shock, part 2 — Dismantling job security, 1977-1997 — A green light from Clinton — The consequences--undoing sanity — Solutions.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400041176
Author:
Uchitelle, Louis
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Author:
Louis Uchitelle
Subject:
Business Ethics
Subject:
Employees
Subject:
Economic Conditions
Subject:
Labor
Subject:
Downsizing of organizations
Subject:
Labor & Industrial Relations - General
Subject:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Business Ethics
Subject:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Careers/General
Subject:
Business & Economics : Human Resources & Personnel Managemen
Subject:
Economics-US Economy
Subject:
Politics-Labor
Publication Date:
2007
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Grade Level:
General/trade
Pages:
283
Dimensions:
9.48x6.58x1.27 in. 1.34 lbs.

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Related Subjects


History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Economics » US Economy
History and Social Science » Politics » Labor
History and Social Science » Sociology » General

The Disposable American Used Hardcover
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$1.98 In Stock
Product details 283 pages Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group - English 9781400041176 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Emphasizing the hidden psychological toll that layoffs take on the individual, Uchitelle examines the entire issue in a sympathetic yet realistic light."
"Review" by , "Highly skilled aircraft mechanics, production workers, and middle managers share their stories of emotional exhaustion and economic downgrading in this heart-wrenching book."
"Review" by , "Many readers know Mr. Uchitelle as a business journalist with an acute analytic bent. That is in this book, but there is a surprising passion as well. He urges...that Americans speak up: not to give empty speeches about how more of us should go to college, or 'skill up,' but to stop the layoffs from ravaging us all."
"Synopsis" by , Layoffs have become a fact of life in today’s economy; initiated in the mid 1970s, they are now widely expected, and even accepted. It doesn’t have to be that way.In The Disposable American, award-winning reporter Louis Uchitelle offers an eye-opening account of layoffs in America–how they started, their questionable necessity, and their devastating psychological impact on individuals at all income levels. Through portraits of both executives and workers at companies such as Stanley Works, United Airlines, and Citigroup, Uchitelle shows how layoffs are in fact counterproductive, rarely promoting efficiency or profitability in the long term. Recognizing that a global competitive economy makes tightening necessary, Uchitelle offers specific recommendations for government policies that would encourage companies to avoid layoffs and help create jobs, benefiting workers, corporations, and the nation as a whole.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

"Synopsis" by , Louis Uchitelle worked as a reporter, editor, and foreign correspondent for the Associated Press until he joined The New York Times in 1980 as a business editor; he has written about economics for the Times since 1987 and was designated Senior Writer in 1994, joining a select group honored for achievement. In the early 1990s his reporting on the former Soviet Union's plunge into capitalism earned him a Pulitzer nomination, and he shared a George Polk award as lead writer on the seven-part Times series, "The Downsizing of America," in 1996. He taught feature writing at Columbia University and has been a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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