Stanley Aronowitz ( 1933-) is professor of sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. His many books include False Promises: The Shaping of American Working-Class Consciousness ( 1974), Historical Materialism ( 1981), Roll Over Beethoven ( 1993), Post-Work ( 1998, with Jonathan Cutler), and From the Ashes of the Old: American Labor and America's Future ( 1998). Dawn Esposito ( 1949-) teaches sociology at St. John's University in New York. She works in feminist and film studies. William DiFazio ( 1947-) is professor of sociology at St. John's University. His books include The Jobless Future: Sci-Tech and the Dogma of Work ( 1995, with Stanley Aronowitz). Margaret Yard ( 1943-) has taught sociology and nursing at several medical centers in New York City, in addition to having served as associate director of the Center for Cultural Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.
Stanley Aronowitz, Dawn Esposito, William DiFazio, Margaret Yard ( 1998)
The bottom is falling out and with it our sense of well-being. For two centuries, despite depressions and wars, America was the "golden door" behind which beckoned the call of the Good Life. Yet, as the twenty-first century approaches, the United States is more accurately characterized as the home of downsizing jobs and lost security, of disappointed hopes and expectations. For many, recent economic and political developments point to the withering away of comfortable full-time jobs "with a future." With jobless futures have also come deteriorating and lost benefits, from quality health care to assurances like social security that were once guaranteed--if only minimally in the United States--by the employment contract.
If the current situation is allowed to continue on its present course, only the few will be able to enjoy life without the constant stress of economic worries. The rest of us will be so buried in work without end, anxious about procuring or simply sustaining our livelihoods, that even the freedom to imagine a different kind of life will seem more and more like a luxury. It has become increasingly difficult to find the time just to reflect, to write, to feel--to change. Ours is a moment when private and public employers regularly demand "give-backs," from health benefits to pensions____________________