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The Jobless Future

Second Edition

1995
Authors:

Stanley Aronowitz and William DiFazio

The Jobless Future

Charting a major change in the nature of paid work in the United States

This widely reviewed and highly successful book examines the job market of tomorrow. Aronowitz and DiFazio take you behind the headlines to challenge the idea that a high-tech economy will provide high-paying jobs for all who want them. Instead, they demonstrate that we’re more likely to see continued layoffs and job displacement.

“Looks beyond the shadow play of welfare politics to the real source of that anxiety-the modern workplace.” -The Nation

A stunning critique of the Panglossian orthodoxies on technology, work, and economic growth. Aronowitz and DiFazio offer a cornucopia of intellectual and ethnographic insights in to the knowledge strata of experts and professionals themselves. This book helps to define the radical agenda for the 21st century.

Charles Derber, Boston College

"Jobs jobs jobs!" went the cry during the 1992 presidential election. If the slogan seems empty now, there is good reason, as the authors illustrate. The "jobless recovery" we're seeing today is no temporary hitch on the way to good times; it is, Stanley Aronowitz and William DiFazio contend, simply part of a profound shift in the world economy.

The Jobless Future challenges beliefs in the utopian promise of a knowledge-based, high-technology economy. Reviewing a vast body of encouraging literature about the postindustrial age, Aronowitz and DiFazio conclude that neither theory, history, nor contemporary evidence warrants optimism about a technological economic order. Instead, they demonstrate the shift toward a massive displacement of employees at all levels and a large-scale degradation of the labor force.

As they clearly chart a major change in the nature, scope, and amount of paid work, the authors suggest that notions of justice and the good life based on full employment must change radically as well. They close by proposing alternatives to our dying job culture that might help us sustain ourselves and our well-being in a science- and technology-based economic future. One alternative discussed is reducing the work day to fewer hours without reducing pay.


Contents
Preface
Introduction
1. The New Knowledge Work
2. Technoculture and the Future of Work
3. The End of Skill?
4. The Computerized Engineer and Architect
5. The Professionalized Scientist
6. Contradictions of the Knowledge Class: Power, Proletarianization, and
Intellectuals
7. Unions and the Future of Professional Work
8. A Taxonomy of Teacher Work
9. The Cultural Construction of Class: Knowledge and the Labor Process
10. Quantum Measures: Capital Investment and Job Reduction
11. The Jobless Future?

• National publicity campaign
• Targeted advertising campaign including The Nation, The New York Review of Books, Publishers Weekly, Voice Literary Supplement
• Advance reviewer galleys
• Radio interviews

The Jobless Future

Stanley Aronowitz is distinguished professor of sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the author of numerous books, including Paradigm Lost (Minnesota, 2002).

Stanley Aronowitz is distinguished professor of sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the author of numerous books, including Paradigm Lost (Minnesota, 2002).

William DiFazio is professor and chair of the sociology department at St. John’s University, New York. He is the author of Ordinary Poverty.

The Jobless Future

Replete with such futuristic concepts as cybernetics, technoculture, de-skilling, and informatics, this book is as timely as today's headlines announcing the latest round of layoffs and down-sizing. An important and thought-provoking work.

Library Journal

The authors repeat the common observation that the informatics revolution is combining with the globalization of production to depress real wages and living standards, forcing workers in America, Europe and Japan alike to compete with Third World workers who are highly skilled and educated as well as miserably paid. The most compelling sections of their book entail not presentations of data but detailed case studies of engineers, architects, research scientists and teachers at all levels. Their work and self-image are being altered beyond recognition by everything from computer-assisted design and manufacturing devices to personal computers and voice-mail systems. Couple this material with the author’s analyses of growing unionization in white collar ranks, and with the evidence all around us that the economy is rapidly gaining the ability to produce more and more with fewer and fewer workers and much of their argument looks pretty convincing.

Washington Times

Looks beyond the shadow play of welfare politics to the real source of that anxiety-the modern workplace. Especially valuable is [Aronowitz and DiFazio’s] original research on the way new technology has changed the working conditions of engineers at General Electric aircraft engine design facility and at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Aronowitz and DiFazio are quite right to look beyond the dismal realities of today’s workplace and envision a society that uses the fruits of technology to abolish—or at least diminish—what the left used to call wage slavery.

The Nation

A stunning critique of the Panglossian orthodoxies on technology, work, and economic growth. Aronowitz and DiFazio offer a cornucopia of intellectual and ethnographic insights in to the knowledge strata of experts and professionals themselves. This book helps to define the radical agenda for the 21st century.

Charles Derber, Boston College

In the end, the value lies not in their proposed solutions, but in their brilliant, systematic exposition of the cataclysmic economic changes underway in society.

Survival News

Aronowitz and DiFazio’s argument for a jobless future is convincing. It’s recommended reading for those trying to get a handle on the changing workplace and its social fall-out.

Otherwise

Aronowitz and DiFazio dismiss the lingering expectation that the high-tech era will ultimately provide more employment.

The New Leader

The Jobless Future is compelling reading for educators who are charged with preparing students for their journeys into a confusing job market. It cautions us to broaden the goals and objectives of our program designs, to study economic trends with greater diligence and to think more thoughtfully before supplying pat answers to our students.

New York State Tech Prep News

<p>
These books are important contributions to our understanding of the great forces at work in the new global economy. Trade unionists, environmentalists and anyone else engaged in social movements should buy, bundle, pass around and discuss these books. Together, they speak to the activist and the intellectual in every serious social justice advocate.
</p>

Environmental Action

<p>
These books are important contributions to our understanding of the great forces at work in the new global economy. Trade unionists, environmentalists and anyone else engaged in social movements should buy, bundle, pass around and discuss these books. Together, they speak to the activist and the intellectual in every serious social justice advocate.
</p>

Metro Arts, San Diego

Stanley Aronowitz and William DiFazio, offer a dazzling integration of cultural critique and political economy that draws upon both their original ethnographies of computer aided design and laboratory science, and a keen grasp of the sociologies of science, work, politics, film, education, stratification and social movements. Both a wake-up call from the slumber of anxiety, and an invitation to a different vision than those of exclusion and apocalypse that haunt the imagination at the end of the century. The book is essential reading for those of the left, as well as those who are not yet there. The text provides a comprehensive view of contemporary society, and in its pedagogical, political and organizational richness, a crucial discursive link between the classroom, policy debates and social movements.

Socialism and Democracy

The heart of The Jobless Future is about changes resulting from technological innovation in the workplace. Surveying this economic terrain, Aronowitz and DiFazio reach a provocative conclusion: Paid work can no longer viably remain the defining activity of human existence. The chapter on teaching should be required reading for all graduate students contemplating an academic career. Aronowitz and DiFazio remind us that politics as rational discourse can exist only with social and economic emancipation. At the same time, by radically redefining the nature of work, they challenge us to consider a fresh approach toward a more just future.

Contemporary Sociology

Aronowitz and DiFazio’s argument for a jobless future is convincing. It’s recommended reading for those trying to get a handle on the changing workplace and its social fall-out.

CPU: Working in the Computer Industry

Aronowitz and DiFazio envision ways to avoid the bleak future facing us. Most of these have been recommended by many others: shorter work weeks, public housing, publicly provided childcare, more funding of pure research, progressive taxes, cheap higher education, and social control of capital. More radically, they argue that work should no longer be considered central to human existence. The idea that work is life’s center is largely propaganda in any case, and sci-tech is quickly showing us that work as conventionally conceived will not be available or necessary. We should aim toward a society in which our basic needs are met without much work; during the rest of the day we will do what we please.

Michael D. Yates, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

The Jobless Future is an energetic and intellectually stimulating book. The book seeks to build bridges among activists, and it makes an impressive case for reinvigorating class analysis within critical theory and social movements. The Jobless Future makes us reconsider this rationale and forces us to conceive of a world with a limited number of jobs. As that shift occurs, appropriate changes in economic development, housing land use, and transportation policy must follow.

Journal of the American Planning Association

In this thoroughly researched and very readable volume, Aronowitz and DiFazio take the reader from present popular constructions of the relationships between science, technology, and work to their picture of a more socially just economic existence. For teachers who believe that teaching is more than content and schedules, and who wish to develop stronger connections between subject matter and their students’ aspirations for the future, The Jobless Future is an essential read. For educators interested in how education is linked to jobs from a point of view outside of the current hegemonic socioeconomic frame of reference found in the popular press, Aronowitz and DiFazio propose an alternative framework for understanding our positions as educators in relation to work.

Harvard Educational Review

The Jobless Future

Contents

Facing the Economic Crisis of the Twenty-First Century: A New Introduction to The Jobless Future

The Jobless Future
Preface
Introduction

Part I. Technoscience and Joblessness
1. The New Knowledge Work
2. Technoculture and the Future of Work
3. The End of Skill?
4. The Computerized Engineer and Architect
5. The Professionalized Scientist

Part II. Contours of a New World
6. Contradictions of the Knowledge Class: Power, Proletarianization, and Intellectuals
7. Unions and the Future of Professional Work
8. A Taxonomy of Teacher Work

Part III. Beyond the Catastrophe
9. The Cultural Construction of Class: Knowledge and the Labor Process
10. Quantum Measures: Capital Investment and Job Reduction
11. The Jobless Future?

Afterword
Notes
Index