· May 9, 2019

Temp: How American Work, American Business, and the American Dream Became Temporary is an excellent review of the changes in the nature of work, and the future of work. Strongly recommended reading. 

A quote that summarizes the core of the book well:

 The end of the postwar prosperity in the 1970s may have been tragic, but handwringing over today’s jobs is farce. We are all terrified that the coming of Uber means the end of security, but we shouldn’t fear that: it is already gone. We already live in that world. We should not mourn the passing of a regime, moreover, that compelled us all to be afraid. Secure work began to erode the minute that Elmer Winter began to sell temporary labor. For some Americans—migrant laborers, African Americans—precariousness has always been part of the labor market. For white women, security was contingent on marriage to white men. Only for working-class white men, and even then not all of them, was job security a reality. Even for the high-paid executive, the office was a place of anxiety, and then possible downsizing. For decades, in ever more insidious ways, employers have found means to make workers disposable. For decades, this flexibility has benefited the employer, but for the first time, we are in a digital world where the flexibility might finally benefit the worker, who might, in the end, not need an employer after all.