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Not Working: Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone?

Not Working: Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone?

by David G. Blanchflower
Not Working: Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone?

Not Working: Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone?

by David G. Blanchflower


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A candid explanation of how the labor market really works and is central to everything—and why it is not as healthy as we think

Relying on unemployment numbers is a dangerous way to gauge how the labor market is doing. Because of a false sense of optimism prior to the COVID-19 shock, the working world was more vulnerable than it should have been. Not Working is about how people want full-time work at a decent wage and how the plight of the underemployed contributes to widespread despair, a worsening drug epidemic, and the unchecked rise of right-wing populism. David Blanchflower explains why the economy since the Great Recession is vastly different from what came before, and calls out our leaders for their continued failure to address one of the most unacknowledged social catastrophes of our time. This revelatory and outspoken book is his candid report on how the young and the less skilled are among the worst casualties of underemployment, how immigrants are taking the blame, and how the epidemic of unhappiness and self-destruction will continue to spread unless we deal with it. Especially urgent now, Not Working is an essential guide to strengthening the labor market for all when we need it most.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691205496
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 04/13/2021
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 1,091,111
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

David G. Blanchflower is the Bruce V. Rauner Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College, professor of economics at the University of Stirling, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Twitter @D_Blanchflower

Table of Contents

Preface to the 2021 Edition ix

Chapter 1 What the Whole World Wants Is a Good Job 1

Part I The Problem: The Great Recession Exposed Underlying Fractures

Chapter 2 Unemployment and Its Consequences 15

Chapter 3 Wage Growth and the Lack of It 47

Chapter 4 The Semi-Slump and the Housing Market 78

Chapter 5 Underemployment 118

Part II The Response to the Great Recession

Chapter 6 Something Horrible Happened 151

Chapter 7 Sniffing the Air and Spotting the Great Recession 181

Chapter 8 The People Have Lost Their Pep 212

Chapter 9 Somebody Has to Be Blamed 238

Chapter 10 Disastrous Cries for Help 264

Part III What to Do?

Chapter 11 Full Employment 297

Chapter 12 Put the Pedal to the Metal 316

Appendix 349

Acknowledgments 353

Dedication 355

Notes 357

References 389

Index 423

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"In this thought-provoking study of the functioning—and malfunctioning—of the labor market, David Blanchflower presents a powerful analysis of one of the most important issues facing our society today: the quest for good jobs. This is a book that will be of interest to economists and policymakers around the world."—Mohamed A. El-Erian, author of The Only Game in Town: Central Banks, Instability, and Avoiding the Next Collapse

"This is economics as it should be: crystal clear, persuasively argued, and enlightening on the big question of our age, namely why so many people feel the economy does not work for them even though unemployment is so low. If you care about how to fix the mess in the rich West, Blanchflower's Not Working is for you."—Robert Peston, political editor, ITV News

"Facts are stubborn things, even in economics. Sometimes it takes a stubborn principled economist to get the facts through the thick head of the economics profession and policymakers. Thankfully, David Blanchflower is just such a stubborn principled economist, and Not Working should finally drive home the realities of today's labor markets to the public and the officials who serve them. The research by Blanchflower underlying Not Working was first provocative, then prescient, and now is pressing for policymakers. Also thankfully, Blanchflower makes the case crystal clear."—Adam S. Posen, President, Peterson Institute for International Economics, and External Member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England, 2009–2012

"David Blanchflower is superlative at piecing together the big picture—a sobering one—from an immense amount of data, both statistical and commonsensical. We need to heed the book's urgent message about another impending crisis."—Nouriel Roubini, coauthor of Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance

"David Blanchflower, a leading labor economist, delivers two trenchant messages in this incisive book. To economists he says: 'look and see,' not 'see and look.' Had they looked at the numbers and not stuck to their theories, they would have seen that a big collapse was coming in 2007. His message to policymakers is 'look at underemployment,' not the headline unemployment figures, to see the slack in the economy. Underemployment—people working less than they want to—explains why, contrary to all past experience, wage inflation has not taken off with the recovery of full employment. A wake-up call to both economists and policymakers."—Robert Skidelsky, University of Warwick, author of John Maynard Keynes and Money and Government

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