Cover image for The once and future worker : a vision for the renewal of work in America
The once and future worker : a vision for the renewal of work in America
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Encounter Books, 2018.

Physical Description:
258 pages ; 24 cm
Introduction: the working hypothesis -- What work is worth -- As American as economic pie -- Productive pluralism -- The labor market -- A future for work -- Turning around -- The environment and the economy -- How the other half learns -- Of borders and balance -- More perfect unions -- The wage subsidy -- Beyond the market -- For those who cannot work -- The social wages of work -- Conclusion: the lost generation.
Examines how current economic and social policies in the United States are adversely affecting the American worker and explains why the governing elites need to implement changes that increase wages and provide access to job training and social welfare programs. -- Publisher's description.


Material Type
Call Number
Book 331.109 Cass
Book 331.109 Cass

On Order



"[Cass's] core principle--a culture of respect for work of all kinds--can help close the gap dividing the two Americas...." - William A. Galston, The Brookings Institution

The American worker is in crisis. Wages have stagnated for more than a generation. Reliance on welfare programs has surged. Life expectancy is falling as substance abuse and obesity rates climb.

These woes are not the inevitable result of irresistible global and technological forces. They are the direct consequence of a decades-long economic consensus that prioritized increasing consumption--regardless of the costs to American workers, their families, and their communities. Donald Trump's rise to the presidency focused attention on the depth of the nation's challenges, yet while everyone agrees something must change, the Left's insistence on still more government spending and the Right's faith in still more economic growth are recipes for repeating the mistakes of the past.

In this groundbreaking re-evaluation of American society, economics, and public policy, Oren Cass challenges our basic assumptions about what prosperity means and where it comes from to reveal how we lost our way. The good news is that we can still turn things around--if the nation's proverbial elites are willing to put the American worker's interests first.

Which is more important, pristine air quality, or well-paying jobs that support families? Unfettered access to the cheapest labor in the world, or renewed investment in the employment of Americans? Smoothing the path through college for the best students, or ensuring that every student acquires the skills to succeed in the modern economy? Cutting taxes, expanding the safety net, or adding money to low-wage paychecks?

The renewal of work in America demands new answers to these questions. If we reinforce their vital role, workers supporting strong families and communities can provide the foundation for a thriving, self-sufficient society that offers opportunity to all.

Author Notes

Oren Cass is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. He worked previously as the domestic policy director for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, a management consultant at Bain & Company, and an editor of the Harvard Law Review .

He lives in Western Massachusetts with his wife and two children.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Cass (research fellow, Manhattan Inst.) -presents a blend of free-market ideology and repackaged conservative social criticism. Hard work in modern America is underappreciated and overregulated, Cass contends. Environmental and safety regulations do not consider the trade-off between lasting public goods such as less air pollution vs. the short-term economic benefit of jobs in polluting industries. Cass laments immigration of unskilled workers, partisan labor union bosses, and the loss of societal sanctions on issues such as single motherhood, idleness, and personal responsibility. Appearing throughout is the strawman of the leftist, bourgeois do-gooder who pushes income transfers, statist social and economic policies, and undermines "traditional" American values. The early citation of Charles Murray, noted author of controversial works on racial intellectual differences, makes the ideological thrust of the text clear. VERDICT A useful overview of current libertarian belief, supported by an overlay of conservative scholarship. For readers interested in American economic policy from a rightist perspective.-Duncan Stewart, Univ. of Iowa Libs., Iowa City © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.