Project Outline

The Great Disruption: Work and the Future of America

Robin Gaster

January 2017



Chapter 1. Summary

Chapter 2. The Great Disruption

  • Technological change
  • Hyperglobalization
  • Modern capitalism and its culture
  • Demographics and immigration

Chapter 3. Signposts: what the data tell us now

  • Employment: signs that work is not what it was
    • Unemployment and labor force participation
    • Job polarization
    • Underemployment
  • Pay: Rapid shifts in income distribution
    • Median income
    • Income quintiles
    • Income dispersion within occupations
  • The context of work: essays on the changing character of work
    • Credentialism
    • Technology in job recruitment
    • The prisoner’s dilemma
    • Disability and other physical barriers
    • Techno-Taylorism
    • Health effects of the Great Disruption
    • The “skills shortage”
  • Beyond 9-5: part timers, freelancers, and the gig economy
    • Decline of 9-5
    • Type of replacement: gigs, freelancers, multiple job holders
    • Comparing full time and part time work
    • Is 9-5 dying?
  • Millennials: the canary in the coalmine for the future of work
    • Why they are the future of work?
    • Jobs
    • Earnings
    • Gigs and part time
    • Inequality and divergence
    • Impacts on housing, family, and lifestyle

Chapter 4. The Big Squeeze

  • The American social contract
  • The quad-squeeze:
    • Pay and employment
    • Health care
    • College costs
    • Retirement
  • The end of job stability

Chapter 5. The near future as the Great Disruption unfolds

  • The logical structure of the Great Disruption
    • The irresistible logic of automation
    • Declining impact of globalization – the damage is done
    • The demographic context
    • Why corporations both drive automation and are trapped by its logic
  • Seven sectors: drivers of change and job impacts [uses multiple case studies]
    • Health care
    • Government services
    • Manufacturing
    • Logistics and transportation
    • Administration and supporting services
    • Finance and insurance
    • Military

Chapter 6. This time is different – why the future will not be like the past

  • Speed
  • Scale
  • Scope
  • Resolving the productivity paradox: why GNP is increasingly unmeasurable

Chapter 7. The far future: utopias and dystopias

  • Dystopias
  • Utopias
  • Muddling through
  • The search for meaning beyond work

Chapter 8. Policies and politics in the age of disruption

  • The problem of subsistence
  • The problem of meaning
  • The problem of transition: finding and growing pathways
  • Policy option and prescriptions
  • A new politics? Realignment of the middle class in America

2017_01_06 The Great Disruption – book outline1