From Alienation to Addiction: Modern American Work in Global Historical Perspective
This book has two foci: first, an examination of how work changed as societies industrialized. Modern work, not only in factories but also offices ... Show synopsis This book has two foci: first, an examination of how work changed as societies industrialized. Modern work, not only in factories but also offices and elsewhere, has characteristics of speed, supervision, and subdivision of tasks that separate it from traditional forms of labor. Seeing how this transition occurred and what it has meant to different groups as industrial systems spread allows history to be used to illuminate current patterns and problems. Second, the book looks at ways modern American work has differed, somewhat, from work responses elsewhere particularly through unusually heavy emphasis on the work ethic. At times, American patterns have had significant influence beyond the national borders. Comparative analysis shows how the results of a somewhat distinctive national history spill over into contemporary experience including the unusually limited amount of time Americans currently spend on vacations compared to their counterparts elsewhere. Featuring major changes over the past two centuries, along with comparative issues, the book treats different kinds of experiences among different groups in the population: women, children, and the elderly, most notably, have had distinctive modern work histories that deserve attention, and help explain some key labor issues in the United States and the world today.