by William & Anne Colamosca Wolman ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 12, 1997
A bleak antimarket assessment of the post-Cold War outlook for American workers. Wolman, chief economist at Business Week, and Colamosca, a former staff writer at the same magazine, assert that, since the 1989 triumph of laissez-faire economics over socialism, increasingly mobile capital has called the tune to which the domestic labor force is dancing. They go on to argue that US industry (in the name of global competitiveness and allied imperatives) has downsized, outsourced, and otherwise doublecrossed loyal blue-collar employees, whose wages in any event had made precious little headway since the 1970s. Nor, the authors caution, are the livelihoods of presumptive elites like so-called knowledge workers sheltered from gathering storms; corporate America is transferring thousands of data-processing and other high-tech jobs to remote offshore venues (e.g., Bangalore, India) where well-educated locals will do them more than competently for appreciably lower pay. Big business apart, the villains here are currency/securities traders and central banks that reward slow, price-stable growth and punish expansionist policies which revive inflationary fears. In their view, consistently tight money not only curbs economic and income gains but also imposes a burden on consumers in the form of needlessly high interest rates. The authors offer conventionally liberal recommendations for reversing the trends that they claim have put US workers in a race without a finish line. Inter alia, they maintain, the federal government should increase its R&D spending; encourage greater cooperation among advanced industrial powers (""to end the tyranny of the central banks and markets""); create a new safety net to socialize the risks of global capitalism; subsidize national listings of employment opportunities; and make it easier to change jobs (e.g., by mandating portable pensions). A deliberately provocative text whose subtext seems to be that the world and transnational enterprises owe US workers a better living.
Pub Date: June 12, 1997
Page Count: 256
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1997
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