The Working Class Majority: America's Best Kept Secret

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Cornell University Press, 2000 - Business & Economics - 198 pages
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The United States is not a middle class society. Michael Zweig shows that the majority of Americans are actually working class and argues that recognizing this fact is essential if that majority is to achieve political influence and social strength. "Class," Zweig writes, "is primarily a matter of power, not income." He goes beyond old formulations of class to explore ways in which class interacts with race and gender.Defining "working class" as those who have little control over the pace and content of their work and who do not supervise others, Zweig warns that by allowing this class to disappear into categories of middle class or consumers, we also allow those with the dominant power, capitalists, to vanish among the rich. Economic relations then appear as comparisons of income or lifestyle rather than as what they truly are—contests of power, at work and in the larger society.Using personal interviews, solid research, and down-to-earth examples, Zweig looks at a number of important contemporary social problems: the growing inequality of income and wealth, welfare reform, globalization, the role of government, and the family values debate. He shows how, with class in mind, our understanding of these issues undergoes a radical shift.Believing that we must limit the power of capitalists to abuse workers, communities, and the environment, Zweig offers concrete ideas for the creation of a new working class politics in the United States.

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The working class majority: America's best kept secret

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Today, the majority of working Americans labor longer hours and have less earning power and fewer job protections than they did 25 years ago. Zweig (economics, SUNY at Stony Brook) argues that "the ... Read full review


The Class Structure of the United States
What We Think about When We Think about Class
Why Is Class Important?
Looking at The Underclass
Looking at Values Family and Otherwise
The Working Class and Power
Power and Globalization
Power and the Government
Into the Millennium
Working Class Resource Guide

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Page 3 - For all their differences, working class people share a common place in production where they have relatively little control over the pace or content of their work, and aren't anybody's boss.

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About the author (2000)

Michael Zweig is a professor of economics and director of the Center for Study of Working Class Life at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he has received the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. He is active in his union, United University Professions (AFT Local 2190), representing 35,000 faculty and professional staff throughout SUNY and has been elected to two terms on its state executive board. His earlier books include What's Class Got to Do with It?: American Society in the Twenty-first Century ; Religion and Economic Justice ; and The Idea of a World University .

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