Farah Stockman, New York Times - Factories close, but what about the people who worked there?

Farah Stockman, New York Times
Factories close, but what about the people who worked there?


That old song, “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away,” really means the old soldiers fade out, die and are forgotten.

Old corporations, on the other hand, not only don’t die, they do fade away from one place only to relocate somewhere else, to live prosperously ever after. And the people, the workers from whom the corporation fades away, do not forget what left them behind.

The motivation for corporate fade out-fade in relocations is usually described as “lowering the cost of doing business,” but it’s really about redistributing the benefits from doing business to top executives and shareholders and away from non-executive personnel.

Between 2015 and 2017, three million American workers lost long-term employment. Two million of them found new jobs within a year. They were the lucky ones, especially compared to the million left on the beach. But not that lucky. Half of the re-employed workers had to take a pay cut at their new jobs.

So, just looking at the money, half of the people RIF-ed over three years of corporate consolidation — those with new jobs and those without — lost in the deal. But, as our guest today, New York Times Editorial Board member Farah Stockman shows in her powerful new book American Made, lost money is far from the worst part of — the subtitle of Stockman’s book: — What Happens to People When Work Disappears.


Farah Stockman joined the New York Times editorial board in 2020 after covering politics, social movements and race for the national desk. Her new book is “American Made: What Happens to People When Work Disappears.” She previously spent 16 years at the Boston Globe, nearly half of that time as the paper’s foreign policy reporter in Washington, D.C. She has reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, South Sudan, Rwanda and Guantánamo Bay. She also served as a columnist and an editorial board member at The Globe, winning a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2016.










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