In post-WWII America, workers had a different relationship with their employers than workers do today. Many workers stayed with one company for the long haul, earning solid wages, good benefits, and pensions in exchange for loyalty and hard work. That social contract spurred the creation of the largest, strongest middle class in history. But much has changed in recent decades.
In his richly detailed and eye-opening book, Rick Wartzman chronicles the erosion of the relationship between American companies and their workers. Wartzman tells the stories of four major employers — General Motors, General Electric, Kodak, and Coca-Cola. By tracing the ups and downs of these four corporate icons over seventy years, Wartzman illustrates just how much has been lost: job security and steadily rising pay, guaranteed pensions, robust health benefits, and much more. Charting the Golden Age of the ’50s and ’60s; the turbulent years of the ’70s and ’80s; and the growth of downsizing, outsourcing, and instability in the modern era, Wartzman’s narrative is a biography of the American Dream gone sideways.
Join the Economic Opportunities Program and the Financial Security Program as we host Rick Wartzman to discuss his new book “The End of Loyalty: The Rise and Fall of Good Jobs in America” with Neil Irwin, senior economics correspondent for The New York Times.
Lunch will be provided. Doors open at 11:30am.
Rick Wartzman, @RWartzman
Rick Wartzman is director of the KH Moon Center for a Functioning Society at the Drucker Institute, a part of Claremont Graduate University. He also writes about the world of work for Fortune magazine online. Before joining the Drucker Institute in 2007 as its founding executive director, Rick worked for two decades as a reporter, editor, and columnist at The Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times. While business editor of The Times, he helped shape a three-part series on Wal-Mart’s impact on the economy and society, which won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.
Neil Irwin, @Neil_Irwin
Neil Irwin is a senior economics correspondent for The New York Times, where he writes for The Upshot, a Times site for analysis of politics, economics and more. He is the author of “The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire,” about the efforts of the world’s central banks to combat the global financial crisis, published by the Penguin Press in 2013. Neil was previously a columnist at The Washington Post and an economics editor of its Wonkblog site. As a beat reporter covering economics and the Federal Reserve, he led the Post’s coverage of the financial crisis and the government’s response to it.