The Temping of America

As stable jobs disappear, Americans are being forced to adjust to a fragile and frightening new order

IN THE TERRIBLE HIGHLAND CLEARANCES OF THE 18th century, thousands of Scots were driven from their farms so that landlords might turn the fields over to the mass grazing of sheep, a more efficient and profitable enterprise. The wool business prospered. The Highlanders starved or went to America. It was the end of one way of life. Or the beginning of another. Economics uprooted culture, and changed everything.

A transformation that merciless and profound is occurring in the American workplace. These are the great corporate clearances of the '90s, the ruthless, restructuring efficiencies. The American work force is being downsized and...

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