Capital Moves: RCA's Seventy-year Quest for Cheap Labor

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The New Press, 2001 - Business & Economics - 279 pages
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The highly acclaimed account of one renowned company's labor struggles in its rise to global power. Globalization is the lead story of the new century, but its roots reach back nearly one hundred years, to major corporations' quest for stable, inexpensive, and pliant sources of labor. Before the largest companies moved beyond national boundaries, they crossed state lines, abandoning the industrial centers of the Eastern Seaboard for impoverished rural communities in the Midwest and South. In their wake they left the decaying urban landscapes and unemployment rates that became hallmarks of late-twentieth-century America. This is the story that Jefferson Cowie, in "a stunningly important work of historical imagination and rediscovery" (Nelson Lichtenstein), tells through the lens of a single American corporation, RCA. Capital Moves takes us through the interconnected histories of Camden, New Jersey; Bloomington, Indiana; Memphis, Tennessee; and Juarez, Mexicofour cities radically transformed by America's leading manufacturer of records and radio sets. In a sweeping narrative of economic upheaval and class conflict, Cowie weaves together the rich detail of local history with the nationaland ultimately internationalstory of economic and social change. 22 black-and-white photographs.

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User Review  - benfulton - LibraryThing

An interesting view from the left wing of RCA's progression from New Jersey to Indiana to Mexico in search of cheap labor. I found much of the language to be needlessly antagonistic to capitalism, but ... Read full review

Capital moves: RCA's seventy-year quest for cheap labor

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Cowie (industrial and labor relations, Cornell Univ.) highlights the power of financial capital in his examination of four RCA factory sites: Camden, NJ; Bloomington, IN; Memphis, TN; and Ciudad ... Read full review

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About the author (2001)

Jefferson Cowie is a professor of labor history and the chair of the department of labor relations, law, and history at Cornell University. He is the author of Capital Moves: RCA's Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor (The New Press), which received the 2000 Philip Taft Prize for the Best Book in Labor History, and of Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class (The New Press), which received the Francis Parkman Prize for the Best Book in American History from the Society of American Historians and the Merle Curti Award from the Organization of American Historians. He lives in Ithaca, New York.

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