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The Meritocracy Myth by Stephen J. McNamee
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, collective bargaining, computer age, conceptual framework, corporate governance, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, deskilling, equal pay for equal work, estate planning, failed state, fixed income, gender pay gap, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, job automation, joint-stock company, labor-force participation, low-wage service sector, marginal employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, occupational segregation, pink-collar, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, prediction markets, profit motive, race to the bottom, random walk, school choice, Scientific racism, Steve Jobs, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, white flight, young professional
Many pink-collar jobs are disproportionately located in the low-wage service sector of the economy. The jobs themselves are insecure, and those who hold them face higher-than-average risks of irregular employment, involuntary part-time work, and layoffs or firing. These jobs typically carry limited fringe benefits, and some require shift work. Pink-collar jobs and the industries in which they are located are typically not unionized; therefore, workers do not benefit from protections won by the collective power of unions. Change has occurred in a few of the female-dominated professions, such as social work, teaching, and nursing, which have formed more powerful professional associations. But most pink-collar jobs are in the low-wage service sector of the economy, which is grossly unrepresented by either unions or professional associations.
In America, the stories are private, based on the individual, not social or based on institutional contexts. (2001, 70–71) The American economy has been transformed from auto, steel, and oil to fast food, day care, and shopping malls. Table 6.1 shows the Department of Labor’s projection of the twenty-five fastest-growing jobs in America that will produce the most new job slots between 2010 and 2020. With few exceptions, most of these “growth jobs” are in the low-wage service sector. Included in the list are low-paid service jobs such as food preparation and service workers, retail sales representatives, cashiers, office clerks, personal and home care aides, home health aides, janitors and cleaners, nursing aides and orderlies, waiters and waitresses, landscaping and groundskeeping workers, receptionists and information clerks, maids and housekeepers, and child-care workers.
In 1970, women made up 38 percent of the U.S. labor force; by 2010, women made up 47 percent of the total labor force, about parity with men (U.S. Department of Labor 2011). Although the level of female participation in the labor force is now almost equivalent to that of men, women are not equally spread out within the labor force. In particular, women are highly concentrated in the mostly low-wage service sector of the economy. While there has been a steady decline in occupational segregation, there is still a substantial amount of sex-based occupational segregation in the labor force (Stainback and Tomaskovic-Devey 2012). For instance, in 2010, women comprised 96 percent of secretaries and administrative assistants, 97 percent of preschool and kindergarten teachers, 91 percent of registered nurses, 95 percent of dental hygienists, 95 percent of child-care workers, 93 percent of receptionists and information clerks, and 91 percent of booking, accounting, and auditing clerks, just to name a few (U.S.
$2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn Edin, H. Luke Shaefer
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, clean water, ending welfare as we know it, future of work, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, impulse control, indoor plumbing, informal economy, low-wage service sector, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration
She was summarily dismissed, given no benefit of the doubt, despite her years of service and the small amount of money involved. “Ten dollars short, and they found it after they fired me,” she says. But no call of apology came, no invitation to return to work. That’s when things really started to fall apart. Modonna was approved for unemployment insurance, which is fairly rare among low-wage workers in the service sector, where low earnings and unstable work hours can make it hard to meet the program’s eligibility criteria. She knows she was lucky in this regard. But her benefits—which didn’t begin to approach what she was making at Stars—weren’t enough to cover the cost of her rent. She fell behind, and her landlord, usually willing to work with a tenant in a tough situation, used the opportunity to get rid of a troublemaker.
Without the housing subsidy, an extraordinarily rare commodity available to only a tiny fraction of Chicago’s homeless families, she never could have afforded their apartment—and there was little chance that she would secure such a subsidy again. Even if she were to find another job before the subsidy lapsed, how could she possibly make enough to cover the full cost of the rent with her wages alone? Jennifer’s circumstances are not rare. About one in four jobs pays too little to lift a family of four out of poverty. Low-wage workers are concentrated in the service sector; the typical American experiences direct benefit from their labor. Like Jennifer at Chicago City, some are all but invisible to the nine-to-five professional worker or daytime shopper. Others are constantly interacting with people, taking lunch orders, selling groceries or clothing, or caring for the elderly in nursing homes. Few of these jobs offer workers much autonomy, and many extract a physical or psychological toll, as Jennifer’s job at Chicago City did.
If customer traffic gets heavy on weekday evenings, they can move more workers to those shifts. If fewer customers are coming in on Sundays, they can cut the number of cashiers who clock in on that day or send them home early. The basic strategy behind these practices explains why wide scheduling availability across days and times has become the key qualification for getting and keeping a low-wage service sector job. Work schedules are often variable, meaning that the days and times you are required to work can shift from day to day or week to week. To get enough hours at any given job, an employee has to be flexible. But such flexibility often means relying on a patchwork of child care arrangements. In one case, as we’ll discuss later, Jennifer’s reliance on a relative to care for Kaitlin and Cole backfired in the most serious of ways.
The New Division of Labor: How Computers Are Creating the Next Job Market by Frank Levy, Richard J. Murnane
Atul Gawande, call centre, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deskilling, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, hypertext link, index card, job automation, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, pattern recognition, profit motive, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, speech recognition, talking drums, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, working poor
Thus, our Simon-esque prediction is that the major consequence of computerization will not be mass unemployment, but a continued decline in the demand for moderately skilled and less skilled labor. Job opportunities will grow, but job growth will be greatest in higher skilled occupations in which computers complement expert thinking and complex communication to produce new products and services. At the same time, more moderate expansion will occur in low-end, low-wage service sector jobs. This declining demand for less skilled labor was implicit in Simon’s 1960 predictions and some years later was given a modern face by economist Gary Burtless. In 1990, Burtless assessed the fear that the U.S. job market would become dominated by low-skilled, low-wage work. His conclusion turned that fear on its head. “Ironically, [less-skilled workers’] labor market position could be improved if the U.S. economy produced more not fewer jobs requiring limited skill.”6 What seemed like ivory tower logic was actually basic economics.
Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age by Virginia Eubanks
affirmative action, Berlin Wall, call centre, cognitive dissonance, desegregation, Fall of the Berlin Wall, future of work, game design, global village, index card, informal economy, invisible hand, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, low-wage service sector, microcredit, new economy, post-industrial society, race to the bottom, rent control, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, telemarketer, Thomas L Friedman, trickle-down economics, union organizing, urban planning, web application, white flight, women in the workforce, working poor
However, if that worker has a child and is the only income provider in the household, her family will remain $70 below the poverty line. A family with two children and two full-time earners, both working at minimum-wage jobs, will make $29,000 a year before taxes, too much to qualify for federal assistance available to those below the poverty line ($22,050 for a family of four) but too little to be able to afford health care, child care, or savings for education or emergencies. If growth in the low-wage service sector continues to be a primary feature of the information economy, too many full-time workers will remain working poor. As Annette Bernhardt and Christine Owens argued in their 2009 Nation article, “Rebuilding a Good Jobs Economy,” we are presented with a unique opportunity in the current global ﬁnancial crisis. They argue that deep and growing inequality is the biggest challenge for America’s economic recovery: while a handful of people prosper and workers are more productive than ever, a decreasing share of corporate proﬁts goes to wages, and ben- Conclusion 163 eﬁts are shrinking.
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, blue-collar work, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gini coefficient, income inequality, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labor-force participation, land reform, land tenure, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, mortgage debt, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, obamacare, occupational segregation, Occupy movement, oil shock, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price discrimination, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, strikebreaker, too big to fail, trade route, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, wage slave, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration
Time in prison and out of the labor force translates into fewer skills, an even lower wage, and tremendous difficulties in actually getting hired.63 GLOBALIZATION AND FREE TRADE While incarceration of young black men caused the statistical illusion that inequality was slowing in America in the 1990s, the jobs available were becoming more polarized into high-wage management jobs and low-wage service sector jobs with no hope of serving as a stepping stone to a middle-class career.64 During the 1980s, improvements in communications technology and the expansion of “big box” stores like Walmart and Target provided greater markets in the United States for goods either produced or finished inexpensively overseas. Factories in Asia could quickly adapt to slight product changes.65 Companies that could do so in the 1990s cut their costs by offshoring portable jobs, maximizing profit through lower input costs (it is estimated that labor costs are “58 to 72 percent lower in China and 22 to 62 percent lower in Mexico”), but at the same time contributing to American unemployment.66 Computers and telecommunication advances enabled companies to use smaller workforces to accomplish their goals, also helping to increase unemployment.67 Free trade became another vector of inequality during the Clinton administration, in the form of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor by William Julius Wilson
affirmative action, citizen journalism, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, declining real wages, deindustrialization, deliberate practice, desegregation, Donald Trump, edge city, ending welfare as we know it, full employment, George Gilder, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, income inequality, informal economy, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, manufacturing employment, new economy, New Urbanism, pink-collar, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, school choice, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Chicago School, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration
But again, by 1987 industrial employment in this group fell to 28 percent. No other male ethnic group in the inner city experienced such an overall precipitous drop in manufacturing employment (see Appendix C). These employment changes have accompanied the loss of traditional manufacturing and other blue-collar jobs in Chicago. As a result, young black males have turned increasingly to the low-wage service sector and unskilled laboring jobs for employment, or have gone jobless. The strongly held U.S. cultural and economic belief that the son will do at least as well as the father in the labor market does not apply to many young inner-city males. If industrial restructuring has hurt inner-city black workers in Chicago, it has had serious consequences for African-Americans across the nation. “As late as the 1968–70 period,” states John Kasarda, “more than 70 percent of all blacks working in metropolitan areas held blue-collar jobs at the same time that more than 50 percent of all metropolitan workers held white-collar jobs.
Although our data suggest that inner-city blacks, especially African-American males, are experiencing increasing problems in the labor market, the reasons for those problems are seen in a complex web of interrelated factors, including those that are race-neutral. The loss of traditional manufacturing and other blue-collar jobs in Chicago resulted in increased joblessness among inner-city black males and a concentration in low-wage, high-turnover laborer and service-sector jobs. Embedded in ghetto neighborhoods, social networks, and households that are not conducive to employment, inner-city black males fall further behind their white and Hispanic counterparts, especially when the labor market is slack. Hispanics “continue to funnel into manufacturing because employers prefer Hispanics over blacks and they like to hire by referrals from current employees, which Hispanics can readily furnish, being already embedded in migration networks.”
Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones
Asperger Syndrome, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, collapse of Lehman Brothers, credit crunch, deindustrialization, Etonian, facts on the ground, falling living standards, first-past-the-post, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Occupy movement, pension reform, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, race to the bottom, rising living standards, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working-age population
A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey
affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, business climate, capital controls, centre right, collective bargaining, crony capitalism, debt deflation, declining real wages, deglobalization, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial intermediation, financial repression, full employment, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, labour market flexibility, land tenure, late capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, low-wage service sector, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, means of production, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage tax deduction, neoliberal agenda, new economy, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, structural adjustment programs, the built environment, The Chicago School, transaction costs, union organizing, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent
Creating Unequal Futures?: Rethinking Poverty, Inequality and Disadvantage by Ruth Fincher, Peter Saunders
barriers to entry, ending welfare as we know it, financial independence, full employment, Gini coefficient, income inequality, income per capita, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, marginal employment, minimum wage unemployment, New Urbanism, open economy, pink-collar, positional goods, purchasing power parity, shareholder value, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, urban planning, urban renewal, very high income, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population
Few landed good ones, however, and many exited quickly from the jobs they found’ (1998b, p. 16). 220 PDF OUTPUT c: ALLEN & UNWIN r: DP2\BP4401W\MAIN p: (02) 6232 5991 f: (02) 6232 4995 36 DAGLISH STREET CURTIN ACT 2605 220 BEYOND IMPOVERISHED VISIONS OF THE LABOUR MARKET With minimal access to training, high job turnover and negligible prospects for career advancement, it is not surprising that low-wage sectors have very low productivity. Again, the US is instructive. The emergence of a large pool of low-wage jobs in the service sector has had a serious and adverse impact on productivity growth. In the US, manufacturing productivity growth between 1979 and 1990 was 2.9 per cent, and between 1990 and 1996, it was 4.2 per cent. In non-manufacturing, it was 0.3 per cent and 0.2 per cent, respectively. These latter growth rates were a tenth of those prevailing in German non-manufacturing over the same period (Brenner 1998, p. 241).
3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, debt deflation, deskilling, diversified portfolio, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, Freestyle chess, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, High speed trading, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Lyft, manufacturing employment, McJob, moral hazard, Narrative Science, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, optical character recognition, passive income, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post scarcity, precision agriculture, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, rent-seeking, reshoring, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, strong AI, Stuxnet, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, very high income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce
At least in the United States, the fast food market is already so saturated that it seems very unlikely that new restaurants could make up for such a dramatic reduction in the number of workers required at each location. And this, of course, would mean that a great many of the job openings forecast by the Bureau of Labor Statistics might never materialize. The other major concentration of low-wage service jobs is in the general retail sector. Economists at the Bureau of Labor Statistics rank “retail salesperson” second only to “registered nurse” as the specific occupation that will add the most jobs in the decade ending in 2020 and expect over 700,000 new jobs to be created.22 Once again, however, technology has the potential to make the government projections seem optimistic. We can probably anticipate that three major forces will shape employment in the retail sector going forward.
Exceptional People: How Migration Shaped Our World and Will Define Our Future by Ian Goldin, Geoffrey Cameron, Meera Balarajan
Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, conceptual framework, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, guest worker program, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, labour mobility, Lao Tzu, life extension, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Malacca Straits, microcredit, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, open borders, out of africa, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, Richard Florida, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, spice trade, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, women in the workforce, working-age population
Planet of Slums by Mike Davis
barriers to entry, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Brownian motion, centre right, clean water, conceptual framework, crony capitalism, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, edge city, European colonialism, failed state, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, Internet Archive, jitney, Kibera, labor-force participation, land reform, land tenure, low-wage service sector, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, megacity, microcredit, New Urbanism, Ponzi scheme, RAND corporation, rent control, structural adjustment programs, surplus humans, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, working poor
As the authors of 1 Patrick Chamoiseau, Texaco, New York 1997, p. 314. 2 See my Late Victorian Holocausts: Til Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World, London 2001, especially pp. 206-09. The Challenge of Slums conclude: "Instead of being a focus for growth and prosperity, the cities have become a dumping ground for a surplus population working in unskilled, unprotected and low-wage informal service in^^triesand trade." "The rise of [this] informal sector," they declare bluntly, "is ... a direct result of liberalization." Some Brazilian sociologists call this process — analogous to the semi-proletarianization of landless peasants — passive proletarianisation, involving the "dissolving of traditional forms of (re)production, which for the great majority of direct producers does not translate into a salaried position in the formal labor market."3 This informal working class, without legal recognition or rights, has important historical antecedents.
Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, capital controls, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, cloud computing, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, debt deflation, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of DNA, discovery of the americas, discrete time, diversification, double helix, Edward Glaeser, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, first-past-the-post, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, low-wage service sector, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, open economy, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price discrimination, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, railway mania, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Skype, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, unpaid internship, value at risk, Washington Consensus, working poor, éminence grise