Temp How American work, American business, and the American dream became temporary

Louis Hyman, 1977-

Book - 2018

Every working person in the United States asks the same question, how secure is my job? For a generation, roughly from 1945 to 1970, business and government leaders embraced a vision of an American workforce rooted in stability. But over the last fifty years, job security has cratered as the postwar institutions that insulated us from volatility--big unions, big corporations, powerful regulators--have been swept aside by a fervent belief in "the market." Temp tracks the surprising tran...sformation of an ethos which favored long-term investment in work (and workers) to one promoting short-term returns. A series of deliberate decisions preceded the digital revolution and upended the longstanding understanding of what a corporation, or a factory, or a shop, was meant to do. Temp tells the story of the unmaking of American work through the experiences of those on the inside: consultants and executives, temps and office workers, line workers and migrant laborers. It begins in the sixties, with economists, consultants, business and policy leaders who began to shift the corporation from a provider of goods and services to one whose sole purpose was to maximize profit--an ideology that brought with it the risk-taking entrepreneur and the shareholder revolution and changed the very definition of a corporation. With Temp, Hyman explains one of the nation's most immediate crises. Uber are not the cause of insecurity and inequality in our country, and neither is the rest of the gig economy. The answer goes deeper than apps, further back than downsizing, and contests the most essential assumptions we have about how our businesses should work

Saved in:

2nd Floor Show me where

331.0973/Hyman
1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 331.0973/Hyman Checked In
Subjects
Genres
Nonfiction
Published
New York, New York : Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC [2018]
Language
English
Physical Description
x, 388 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9780735224070
0735224072
Main Author
Louis Hyman, 1977- (author)
  • Introduction: How we all became temps
  • Making company men
  • Temporary women
  • Consulting men
  • Marginal men
  • Temporary business
  • Office automation and technology consulting
  • The fall of the American corporation
  • Rethinking the corporation
  • Office of the future, factory of the past
  • Restructuring the American dream
  • Permatemp
  • Flexible labor in the digital age
  • The second industrious revolution.
Review by Booklist Reviews

How did modern American work become an uneasy combination of side hustles? The answer, writes Hyman (Debtor Nation, 2011), "goes deeper than Uber, further back than downsizing, and contests the most essential assumptions we have about how our economy and our businesses work." Scarred by the Great Depression and transformed by WWII, the postwar American workforce saw several new developments: stronger benefits like health insurance and pensions, temp agencies like Manpower that offered cheap labor, a growing dependency on migrants for agricultural work, and the emergence of a new and permanent "consultancy class," whose ethos of restructuring and leanness would spread throughout corporate America, starting in the 1960s. Hyman charts the decades-long rise of our automation-fueled "ad-hocracy" through the companies that helped create it, from the early days of GM to Upwork and Uber today. Despite some overly thorough stretches, the book succeeds as a synthesis of economics, sociology, and history by opting for good storytelling over jargon. Recommended as a topical title for all collections. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Author of the award-winning and multi-best-booked memoir Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness, and Becoming a Man, McBee is the first transgender man to box in Madison Square Garden. Here he recounts training for that event while pondering the complicated relationship between masculinity and violence. Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

This disquieting history of worker dispensability from Hyman (American Capitalism: A Reader), a Cornell economic history professor, tries to find cause for optimism in the emergence of the "gig economy," but will still leave salaried employees looking nervously over their shoulders. He carefully traces the growth of the temporary labor movement, from the temp secretaries of the post-WWII firms Manpower Inc. and Kelly Girl to today's freelancers hired through online services like Craigslist and Upwork. Hyman notes that, by the late 1960s, Manpower's CEO, Elmer Winter, was already envisaging a wholly temporary workforce. However, it took the corporate trimming, restructuring, and downsizing of the 1980s to make "leanness" a business ideal, in which companies shed workers like unwanted pounds. Hyman's examination of the evolution of work is thorough, thoughtful, and sympathetic, importantly not excluding the people—immigrants, minorities, women, and youth—largely ignored in the "American Dream" model for employment once all but guaranteed to white men. In the last chapter, Hyman lays out ambitious suggestions for how society can make "the flexible workforce and the flexible firm... work for us," such as through increased incentives for small business ownership, yet leaves it very uncertain whether this brave new world will usher in greater worker freedom or even greater instability. Agent: Eric Lupfer, Fletcher & Co. (Aug.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

This disquieting history of worker dispensability from Hyman (American Capitalism: A Reader), a Cornell economic history professor, tries to find cause for optimism in the emergence of the "gig economy," but will still leave salaried employees looking nervously over their shoulders. He carefully traces the growth of the temporary labor movement, from the temp secretaries of the post-WWII firms Manpower Inc. and Kelly Girl to today's freelancers hired through online services like Craigslist and Upwork. Hyman notes that, by the late 1960s, Manpower's CEO, Elmer Winter, was already envisaging a wholly temporary workforce. However, it took the corporate trimming, restructuring, and downsizing of the 1980s to make "leanness" a business ideal, in which companies shed workers like unwanted pounds. Hyman's examination of the evolution of work is thorough, thoughtful, and sympathetic, importantly not excluding the people—immigrants, minorities, women, and youth—largely ignored in the "American Dream" model for employment once all but guaranteed to white men. In the last chapter, Hyman lays out ambitious suggestions for how society can make "the flexible workforce and the flexible firm... work for us," such as through increased incentives for small business ownership, yet leaves it very uncertain whether this brave new world will usher in greater worker freedom or even greater instability. Agent: Eric Lupfer, Fletcher & Co. (Aug.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Presents a history of the origins of the "gig economy" that reveals how deliberate decisions made by consultants and CEOs in the 1950s and 1960s upended the stability of the workplace.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The author of Debtor Nation presents a history of the lesser-known origins of the "gig economy" that reveals how deliberate decisions made by consultants and CEOs in the 1950s and 1960s upended the stability of the workplace.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Named a "Triumph" of 2018 by New York Times Book CriticsShortlisted for the 800-CEO-READ Business Book AwardThe untold history of the surprising origins of the "gig economy" --how deliberate decisions made by consultants and CEOs in the 50s and 60s upended the stability of the workplace and the lives of millions of working men and women in postwar America.Every working person in the United States asks the same question, how secure is my job? For a generation, roughly from 1945 to 1970, business and government leaders embraced a vision of an American workforce rooted in stability. But over the last fifty years, job security has cratered as the postwar institutions that insulated us from volatility--big unions, big corporations, powerful regulators--have been swept aside by a fervent belief in "the market." Temp tracks the surprising transformation of an ethos which favored long-term investment in work (and workers) to one promoting short-term returns. A series of deliberate decisions preceded the digital revolution and upended the longstanding understanding of what a corporation, or a factory, or a shop, was meant to do.Temp tells the story of the unmaking of American work through the experiences of those on the inside: consultants and executives, temps and office workers, line workers and migrant laborers. It begins in the sixties, with economists, consultants, business and policy leaders who began to shift the corporation from a provider of goods and services to one whose sole purpose was to maximize profit--an ideology that brought with it the risk-taking entrepreneur and the shareholder revolution and changed the very definition of a corporation.With Temp, Hyman explains one of the nation's most immediate crises. Uber are not the cause of insecurity and inequality in our country, and neither is the rest of the gig economy. The answer goes deeper than apps, further back than downsizing, and contests the most essential assumptions we have about how our businesses should work.