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work



  • The Filing Cabinet: A Material History

    by Craig Robertson

    The humble filing cabinet in fact tells the story of the rise of bureaucratic structures in capitalism and government, and the potential for information to be used efficiently – or weaponized. 



  • Why Trump Still Has Millions of Americans in His Grip

    Columnist Thomas Edsall surveys recent research about the past and future economic impact of automation and artificial intelligence and concludes that Democratic elites have a short time left to get ahead of cataclysmic changes in employment or else the Trump phenomenon will only be a preview of political rage. 



  • Weary of Work

    by Emily K. Abel

    Historian Emily Abel's book on fatigue deals in part with how Progressive era reformers approached the problem of the tired industrial worker. Ultimately, they favored solutions that emphasized efficiency and management, undercutting the ability of the labor movement to demand shorter work hours. 



  • ‘There’s No Natural Dignity in Work’

    by Ezra Klein

    Is it time to revisit the basic premise of American welfare policies that encouraging or requiring paid labor is the best way to deal with poverty? 



  • How Will the Pandemic Shape the Future of Work?

    by Judy Stephenson

    The pandemic is exposing the historical contingency of "jobs" as opposed to "tasks" – as capital returns to a piecework model in the gig economy, the concept of job security is in danger of vanishing. 



  • What Liberals Get Wrong About Work

    by Michael J. Sandel

    Michael Young, who coined the term meritocracy in the late 1950s—and who used it as a pejorative—observed four decades later: “It is hard indeed in a society that makes so much of merit to be judged as having none. No underclass has ever been left as morally naked as that.”



  • Women’s History Month Spotlight: Maimie Pinzer

    According to historian Melissa R. Klapper, Pinzer’s story has been of great interest to scholars of gender and working-class women because her letters are among the only firsthand accounts of prostitution during the early 20th century. “She was also quite self-aware about the role that gender norms and limitations on women, especially economic, had played in her life.”



  • The Future of Work, a History

    by Kevin Baker

    America has a long, complicated track record of dreading that robots would take our jobs.