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A Future That Works

Debating Labor in America

Workers on an assembly line in Franklin Park, Illinois, January 2019. Tim Aeppel / Reuters

James Galbraith’s bizarre critique of my book, The Once and Future Worker, fails to achieve the basic task of a book review: telling readers what is in the book. Instead, he assembles misleading descriptions of my core proposals into what he must think a quite clever conclusion, that the “historical precedent for the type of society Cass envisions” is “the Jim Crow South.” That is absurd. His unreflective commitment to long-broken institutions has deprived him of the ability to engage productively in debates over reform.

Take education. The Once and Future Worker argues that the United States’ single-minded obsession with “college for all” has been misguided, especially for the majority of young people who do not earn a degree. Instead, I argue, the United States should place “the onus on our schools to meet students where they are and help them prepare for success with the academic outcomes toward

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