Week 11

The working class was “recycled” in the transition from industrial to service based economy because with the industrial economy there were a large amount of jobs available and there was a need for workers. However, once deindustrialization began there was no longer a need for all these workers and so they ended up becoming unemployed. In the beginning of Winant`s article, Winant says that in the 1970s “deindustrialization threw the working-class population back onto the welfare state for survival, testing its component institutions, public and private, disciplinary and emancipatory alike: the family unit, labor unions and collective bargaining, policing and punishment, social insurance and income support systems” (Winant, 181). For black men and women the employment outlook was very different from one another. For the men, they would find that their job opportunities were declining, while for women their job opportunities were increasing. Black men were typically laided off longer than white men, while women were able to continue working. The results of this would disrupt the nuclear family that was so prominent in the 1960s. For those who were already struggling financially, deindustrialization caused them to go into more of a financial crisis. The steel industry market heavily declined and many companies wer forced to let go of employees and went into a large amount of debt trying to obtain another source of income which would be oil. In the reading it says, “the company is not in the business of making steel. It is in the business of making profits” (Winant, 187). However, the company still went into debt to the point where closure had to happen and the unemployment rate was continuing to rise. 

 During this time, I think social and government programs were not designed to protect citizens from economic risks and uncertainties. I say this because it says “thousands thrown onto public assistance navigated a social policy environment that was increasingly punitive, albeit to different degrees depending on the claims they could make” (Winant, 190). With a significant increase of people trying to obtain the benefits of welfare programs, I feel like the programs would not have been developed enough to be able to provide for a sudden shift in the economy. We see examples of this when “Pennsylvania lowered the state’s maximum duration of benefits in 1983 from thirty weeks to twenty-six, even though joblessness typically lasted longer” (Winant, 191). Then, “the federal government cut back Aid to Families withDependent Children (AFDC) in 1981: 10 percent of Pennsylvania recipients lost eligibility; another 7percent saw grants shrink” (Winant, 191). The cutback in programs had an impact on families andI think in these years the government saw how important it is to make sure that programs will be sufficient and developed enough to be able to provide support to individuals when there is a sudden shift in the economy. 

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