Layoffs have become a fact of life in today’s economy; initiated in the mid 1970s, they are now widely expected, and even accepted. It doesn’t have to be that way.In The Disposable American , award-winning reporter Louis Uchitelle offers an eye-opening account of layoffs in America–how they started, their questionable necessity, and their devastating psychological impact on individuals at all income levels. Through portraits of both executives and workers at companies such as Stanley Works, United Airlines, and Citigroup, Uchitelle shows how layoffs are in fact counterproductive, rarely promoting efficiency or profitability in the long term. Recognizing that a global competitive economy makes tightening necessary, Uchitelle offers specific recommendations for government policies that would encourage companies to avoid layoffs and help create jobs, benefiting workers, corporations, and the nation as a whole.
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|Title of Business & Economics eBook: The Disposable American|
|Release Date: 04-10-2007|
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|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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The Disposable American
Several years ago, Donald W. Davis stopped making visits back to New Britain, Connecticut. He felt shame for what had happened to the Stanley Works, the city’s largest employer, which he had led from 1966 to 1988—from its best days to the beginning of the layoffs and plant closings that, after he was gone, finally reduced Stanley’s presence in New Britain to a collection of mostly empty factory buildings and reproachful former workers.
Davis by then no longer lived in New Britain. He had sold his Dutch Colonial home, which he had painted a bright and optimistic yellow, and had moved with his wife to Martha’s Vineyard, where their summer house on seven acres of rolling lawn became their main residence. It was an entirely different setting, but the trip back to New Britain for visits was easy enough—less than four hours by ferry and car—and Davis at first made it often. Like many chief executives of his era, he had been deeply involved in the life of the city that, in his day, had supplied thousands of Stanley’s workers. He had served on the board of education for many years and was its president for a while. The six Davis children attended the public elementary schools.
But in the late 1990s, the visits home stopped. Meeting former Stanley employees on the streets, in restaurants, at the YMCA, where Davis still went to exercise, became too painful. “They just moaned about what was happening to this great company,” Davis told me. He had tried to share their sadness, to distinguish his stewardship from the accelerated pace of layoffs and the disregard for New Britain that had become so striking afte...