Nickels and Dimes Won’t Fix This: The Future of Work and Pay in America:Pollin, R., Brenner, M., Wicks-Lim, J., & Luce, S. (2008). A Measure of Fairness: The Economics of Living Wages and Minimum Wages in the United States. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 292 pp. (paper). Devault, M. (Ed.). (2008). People at Work: Life, Power, and Social Inclusion in the New Economy. New York, NY: New York University Press. 344 pp. (paperback). Bartik, T. J., & Houseman, S. N. (Eds.). (2008). A Future of Good Jobs? America’s Challenge in the Global Economy. Kalamazoo, MI: Upjohn Institute. 327 pp. (paperback)
AbstractThe global recession has made researchers and policy makers ask a broad set of questions about the future of work and pay in America.This article examines three recent books, Pollin et al.’s A Measure of Fairness: The Economics of Living Wages and MinimumWages in the United States (2008), Devault’s People atWork: Life, Power, and Social Inclusion in the New Economy (2008), and Bartik and Houseman’s A Future of Good Jobs? America’s Challenge in the Global Economy (2008) for insights on this issue. From diverse methodologies and disciplinary perspectives, each helps to highlight that the most basic of all economic fundamentals is good jobs with good wages. The current economic downturn provides researchers and policy makers with an opportunity to examine critically the cumulative damage done to the American middle class by policies that ignore these economic fundamentals in favor of policies that favor unearned income while promoting easy credit and debt to disguise downward mobility.