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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

by Oren Cass
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

by Oren Cass


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The publication of The Once and Future Worker in November 2018 triggered a “vigorous intra-conservative debate” (Ross Douthat, New York Times), widening the schism between the right-of-center establishment and reformers eager to forge a new post-Trump consensus. Author Oren Cass, “one of the sharpest policy minds in this new vanguard” (Sam Tanenhaus, Time), presents “an unflinching indictment of the mistakes that Washington has made for a generation” (Senator Marco Rubio), laying the groundwork for a rethinking of economic policy “meant to be a dagger thrust into the heart of the traditional center-right consensus” (Senator Pat Toomey).

Cass’s argument can be stated simply: work matters. The implications of this idea yield a groundbreaking reevaluation of American society, economics, and public policy that challenges our basic assumptions about what prosperity means and whence it comes. American policy makers have focused exclusively on consumption, pursuing an agenda that guaranteed everyone more and cheaper and better stuff without concern for who would make it. But more important than the size of our televisions is the ability to support our families and contribute productively to our communities. When people lose those things, ultra-high-definition flat-screens are no substitute.

The traditional emphasis on economic growth is important, Cass agrees, but whose growth matters. America must turn its attention to its long-neglected workers and pursue public policies that recognize and reinforce their vital role as the foundation of a thriving, self-sufficient society that offers opportunity for all. This is “the essential policy book for our time” (Yuval Levin, American Enterprise Institute), retracing the steps that led us astray and showing the path forward to the new way of thinking and the new ideas that the nation needs today.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781641771047
Publisher: Encounter Books
Publication date: 08/04/2020
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 344,347
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Oren Cass is the founder and executive director of American Compass, whose mission is to restore an economic consensus that emphasizes the importance of family, community, and industry to the nation’s liberty and prosperity. He lives in western Massachusetts with his wife and three children.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Working Hypothesis 1

Part I What Work is Worth

1 As American as Economic Pie 15

2 Productive Pluralism 29

3 The Labor Market 47

4 A Future for Work 59

Part II Turning Around

5 The Environment and the Economy 79

6 How the Other Half Learns 101

7 Of Borders and Balance 115

8 More Perfect Unions 141

9 The Wage Subsidy 161

Part III Beyond the Market

10 For Those Who Cannot Work 177

11 The Social Wages of Work 195

Conclusion: The Lost Generation 209

Acknowledgments 217

Notes 219

Index 249

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Oren Cass has accomplished the rare feat of not only saying something truly new and innovative about our society, but also doing it in a readable, engrossing way. The Once and Future Worker is a wake-up call to our political class, and indeed the whole country, that rising consumption can’t replace that most basic of goods—a job. A brilliant book. And among the most important I’ve ever read.”
—J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy

“No one has better articulated the conservative argument for why work matters to America's long-term prosperity than Oren Cass. Oren’s insightful prescription for what ails us should be required reading for those who endeavor to create a labor market in which workers can create and support strong families and communities.”
—Mitt Romney

“Oren Cass has written the essential policy book for our time. His diagnosis cuts to the heart of what’s troubling our political economy, and his prescriptions chart the way toward a more constructive politics. A must-read.”
—Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs

“Through an unflinching indictment of the mistakes that Washington has made for a generation and continues to make today, Oren Cass forcefully draws out the contradictions of a consensus that has actively displaced Americans from their national inheritance of good jobs and thriving hometowns. The Once and Future Worker offers much-needed clarity for how to make the American Dream possible for the many.”
—Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)

“Oren Cass’s focus on the importance of work—and making work pay—offers welcome common ground for policy debates across partisan and ideological lines. His core principle—a culture of respect for work of all kinds—can help close the gap dividing the two Americas that the 2016 election so starkly revealed.”
—William A. Galston, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution

“Working-class voters tried to send a message in 2016, and they are still trying to send it. The crucial question is whether America’s leaders will listen and respond. One way to start doing that is to read Oren Cass’s absolutely brilliant new book.”
—David Brooks, New York Times

“Oren Cass has one of the sharpest policy minds in this new vanguard. . . . Cass’s book, timed for publication the week after the midterms, could either be the battle orders for a second Trump term or a to-do list for a successor stamped in the same mold.”
—Sam Tanenhaus, Time

“Oren Cass talks about a lot of these policy solutions that nobody wants to talk about. . . . Go check it out right now. It’s a sophisticated take on a lot of deep policy issues.”
—Ben Shapiro, The Ben Shapiro Show

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