Securing Prosperity: The American Labor Market: How It Has Changed and What to Do about It

Securing Prosperity: The American Labor Market: How It Has Changed and What to Do about It

Securing Prosperity: The American Labor Market: How It Has Changed and What to Do about It

Securing Prosperity: The American Labor Market: How It Has Changed and What to Do about It

Synopsis

""Securing Prosperity" is a balanced, comprehensive, and shrewd analysis of the changes that have buffeted the U.S. workplace over the past twenty years. Paul Osterman focuses on the huge rise in labor-market mobility and the shifting balance of power between employees and management, showing both the positive and negative sides of these developments. The book includes sensible policy recommendations to help ensure greater equity and efficiency in the labor market. This is applied scholarship at its best."--Sanford M. Jacoby, Management and Policy Studies, UCLA

"This is the ideal book for anyone interested in how globalization and the new market economy have altered the lives of employees and what corrective measures might be taken to cushion the harmful effects without sacrificing the benefits. A balanced, highly informative account by an acknowledged expert in the field."--Derek Bok, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

"An intelligent, balanced, illuminating account of the challenges posed by the emerging labor market of the global information economy. Paul Osterman provides persuasive examples of innovative work systems and new community institutions that can satisfy both employers who need flexibility and employees who want security. The national policy debate will be enriched by Osterman's call for political vision to diminish the risks of job mobility without undermining it."--Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School, author of "World Class" and "Rosabeth Moss Kanter on the Frontiers of Management"

"This book is an important contribution both to policy discussions and to academic research on the contemporary American labor market.... Ostermanwrites simply and clearly."--Bruce Western, Princeton University

Excerpt

As of this writing, America seems poised to end the century on a dizzy economic high. Unemployment and inflation are lower than many economists thought possible. the stock market continues its deafening boom, demonstrating remarkable resiliency by bouncing back from occasional sharp, but short-lived, declines. and the federal budget, plagued by large deficits “as far as the eye could see” at the outset of the 1990s, is now comfortably in the black and predicted to remain so for years. in a recent poll, over 70 percent of respondents said that 1999 is the best economic time of their lives.

On the other hand, a few spoilsports keep insisting that, upon closer inspection, the celebration of the present is masking disturbing and eventually corroding weaknesses beneath the economic glitter. Some of the points they make are unanswerable: Gaps between the rich and poor have continued to widen while the earnings of middle-income families have barely kept pace with inflation; as the expansion became one of the longest on record in 1998, household debt levels reached historic highs while the savings rate actually sank to zero; throughout the 1990s, stories in the daily business pages describing corporate “downsizings” ran side by side with stories about record corporate profits, often in the same industries. Prosperity also has failed to halt the growth in the number of Americans lacking health insurance and the reductions in guaranteed pension coverage.

Underlying these dissonant developments are complex transformations in the relationships between American employers and workers, which have resulted in gradual shifts in the balance of power from labor to management.

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