I wrote an essay that appeared in the
Atlantic yesterday. Based on the research for my book on unemployment, the piece talks about the debate over Denmark in last week's Democratic presidential debate—and how the real debate should be over Canada:
Clearly, America won’t expand its social safety net to anywhere near the scale of Denmark’s over the next president’s time in office. Judging from their rhetoric in the debate, though, Clinton and Sanders both agree that government can and should play an important role in extending economic opportunities more broadly. Canada’s approach to policy shows us some of the practical ways a country can do that—without having to go far from our roots as a New World society of dreamers and strivers.
I participated in Marshal Zeringue's Page 99 Test at the Campaign for the American Reader. The blog is based on a quote by the writer Ford Madox Ford: "Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you." New authors talk about the ninety-ninth page of their book and what it says about its larger themes. Here's what I wrote about my book Cut Loose:
Page 99 talks about how the unemployed deal with the depression and anxiety that come from losing part of their identities. Work is central to our sense of self—it’s often the first question we ask someone we meet—and during the workday we build friendships that sustain us throughout our lives. Many of the people I interviewed felt isolated. Friends could no longer relate. Relationships with spouses and children became strained. Unable to provide the way they used to, they found themselves mired in blame and doubts.
After the Soviet Union collapsed, Christos Gabriel and Yannis Lubovicki left the faltering Eastern Bloc and came to Greece in pursuit of a happier life. But as the energy and promise of Greece’s once-fiery economy has dwindled away, immigrants like them have experienced homelessness and hostility—as well as a peculiar yearning for the old communist ways.
Young college-educated workers have struggled to find jobs in the wake of a devastating global recession. In Greece, the European epicenter of the economic crisis, the hardship is on a whole different level: college graduates are giving up on the careers they planned and heading home — to work on the family farm.