‘The Lonely Poverty of America’s White Working Class’

Lonely house with man standing in front next to carThe Atlantic has published my take on the recent study on rising mortality rates for working-class white Americans.

“… policies to keep people from sinking into poverty and long-term unemployment can make a huge difference. In advanced industrial nations that have stronger social safety nets, the working class is not experiencing the rising death rates that Case and Deaton identified. Abroad, many of the working-class unemployed benefit from a financial backstop of sorts that keeps them from hurtling into the deepest forms of desperation. Here in the U.S. they would too, if only there were such a thing.”

Read the front-page story here.

My Op-Ed in The Atlantic: ‘Forget Denmark—Emulate Canada’

The Atlantic

I wrote about how policies matter for The Atlantic. While Denmark came up during last week’s Democratic presidential debate, my take is that we should — and could — be more like Canada.

“If the goal of the next president is to rebuild the middle class, then following the policy lead of Canada—a country where there is less income inequality and a greater likelihood that those born at the bottom of the economic ladder can rise to the top—is a shrewd strategy. And it’s also a strategy well within our reach.”

Read more here. (It was also picked up by the Albany Times Union opinion blog.)

Ethnography & Journalism

The Journalist and the Ethnographer textIn my first blog post over at Orgtheory.net, I kicked off a discussion about the relationship between ethnography and journalism. I have a background in both areas.

Here’s some of what I said: “Like journalists, can we also be confidence men and women—gaining trust and betraying it? Furthermore, do we have to do that—in order to gain access to begin with, and in order to be truthful to the reality we describe? That’s the age-old question in research ethics, of course.”

Read more and chime in here.

My Op-Ed in Newsday: ‘No Full-Timer Should Live in Poverty’

Newsday headline and first few paragraphsNewsday has published an essay of mine that puts the fight for a $15 minimum wage within the big-picture context of my book:

Amid all the controversy over the recent push in New York and elsewhere for a $15 minimum wage, it’s important to remember the big picture.

In the decades after World War II, the United States had powerful policies and popular movements that lifted up working men and women. A third of employed Americans were members of unions, and a pro-worker lobby pushed Washington to raise the minimum wage to more than $10 in today’s dollars.

That culture has changed—so much so that today we’re even debating whether a worker should, at a minimum, earn enough to make ends meet.

Read more here. The paper’s sister publication amNew York has also published the piece.