Workman Reviewed by CHOICE

If You’re in My Way, I’m Walking
The Assault on Working People since 1970

By Thom Workman  

Workman (Univ. of New Brunswick, Canada) offers a thoughtful, insightful, and powerfully written critique of the contemporary treatment of workers and the representation of labor in Canada. His observations are widely applicable across the industrial democracies and offer a Canadian counterpart to Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickle and Dimed (2008). Workman combines a macro-level consideration of shifting economic conditions since the 1970s with telling examples of individual labour campaigns and the wholesale bruising labour has received in recent years. The author usues this scaffold to reach his true target: capitalism, “its alienating charaacter, its devastating ecological practices, its obscene extremes of wealth and poverty, its tendencies toward universal commodification, its propensity for war and its sheer wastefulness.” In a fascinating section, he points to the tentative emergence of a possible alternative social order in which the values of human interaction, creativity, craft, and mutual care are placed above accumulation. One reservation: the work is virtually silent on the decimation that new technologies and offshore production inflict on both labor and manufacturing in North America. By extention, the volume ignores the function of the state in protecting exisitng relations to production against these new threats to the conditions of production. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers and upper-division undergraduate students-D.R. Imig, University of Memphis for CHOICE October 2010 48-1116 HD8106

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