Neoliberalism and the Transformation of Work

  • Luigi EspositoEmail author
Part of the International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice book series (IPSPAP)


Various writers see the dramatic concentration of power and wealth that currently exists in the USA as constituting a new Gilded Age. Similar to the extreme inequalities and abuses of industrial capitalism that were rampant in the late nineteenth century, this new Gilded Age is promoted by a radical pro-market agenda associated with the term “neoliberalism.” Neoliberalism can be regarded as an ideology, a form of governance, and a set of norms, policies, and practices that seek to eliminate or at least minimize the welfare state, discourage civic values such as solidarity and social/economic justice in favor of competition and individual freedom, and establish a society based on the rule of the market. In fact, under neoliberalism, the calculating logic of the market—one that submits every action and policy to considerations of profitability—serves as the guiding principle of virtually every aspect of social life.


Neoliberalism Structural violence Organized labor Automation Outsourcing Economic insecurity 


  1. Alexander, M. (2010). The new Jim Crow: Incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
  2. Brown, A. (2013, September 12). More American struggle to afford food. Gallup Polls. Accessed 14 July 2014.
  3. Brynjolfsson, E., & McAfee, A. (2014). The second machine age. New York: W.W. Norton and Company.Google Scholar
  4. Cashman, S. D. (1993). America in the Gilded Age. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Faux, J. (2013). NAFTA’s impact on U.S. Workers. Economic policy institute. Accessed 22 July 2014.
  6. Friedman, M. (1982). Capitalism and freedom. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  7. Galtung, J. (1969). Violence, peace and peace research. Journal of Peace Research, 6(3), 167–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Galtung, J. (1990). Cultural violence. Journal of Peace Research, 27(3), 291–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gilens, M., & Page, B. I. (2014). Testing theories of American politics: Elites, interest groups, and average citizens. Perspectives on Politics, 12(3):564–581.Google Scholar
  10. Giroux, H. (2008a). Against the terror of neoliberalism. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers.Google Scholar
  11. Giroux, H. (2008b). Beyond the bio-politics of disposability: Rethinking neoliberalism in the new gilded age. Social Identities, 14(5), 587–629.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Giroux, H. (2013). Violence, USA: The warfare state and the brutalizing of everyday life. Truthout. Accessed 22 July 2014.
  13. Greenhouse, S. (2013, January 23). Share of workforce in a Union Fall to 97 year low, 11.3 %. The New York Times. Accessed 15 July 2014.
  14. Harcourt, B. (2011). The illusion of free markets: Punishment and the myth of natural order. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Hartwell, M. (2005). A history of the Mont Pelerin Society. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund Inc.Google Scholar
  16. Harvey, D. (2005). A brief history of neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Hayek, F. (1944). The road to serfdom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  18. Hill, P. (2013, November 3). Welfare to Work Law encourage low wages, raises dependency on federal benefits. Washington Times. Accessed 7 July 2014.
  19. Hughes, P. (1999). The crash and early depression. Accessed 2 June 2014.
  20. Iadicola, P., & Shupe, A. (2013). Violence, inequality and human freedom (3rd ed.). New York: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  21. Katz, M. B. (2008). The price of citizenship: Redefining the American welfare state. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  22. Kingkade, T. (2013, August 27). Most Americans say they can’t afford public college. The Huffington Post. Accessed 14 July 2014.
  23. Klein, J. (2012). The bully society. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Knabe, A., & Ratzel, S. (2011). Scarring or scaring? The psychological impact of past unemployment and future unemployment risk. Economica, 78(310): 283–293.Google Scholar
  25. Konrath, S. H., O’Brein, E. H., & Hsing, C. (2011). Changes in dispositional empathy in American college students over time: A meta analysis. Personality and Social Psychological Review, 15(2), 180–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Krugman, P. (2014). Why we’re in a new Gilded Age. The New York Times Review of Books. Accessed 4 June 2014.
  27. Lafer, G. (2013). The legislative attack on American wages and labor standards, 2011–2012. Economic Policy Institute. Accessed 15 July 2014.
  28. Leslie, I. (2014). The inequality of the second machine age. The New Statesman, 143(4), 13–14.Google Scholar
  29. Luhby, T. (2013, April 26). Millions can’t afford to go to the doctor. CNN Money. Accessed 14 July 2014.
  30. Meister, D. (2011). Ronald Reagan, enemy of the American worker. Truthout. Accessed 6 July 2014.
  31. Meyerson, H. (2004, June 8). Class warrior. The Washington Post. Accessed 6 July 2014.
  32. Mills, C. W. (1959). The sociological imagination. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  33. O’Hehir, A. (2014, April 26). The new Gilded Age: A bigger con than the first. Salon. Accessed 26 May 2014.
  34. Pager, D. (2003). The mark of a criminal record. American Journal of Psychology, 108(5), 937–975.Google Scholar
  35. Perez, F. M., & Esposito, L. (2012). Neoliberalism and punishment for profit: The rise of the private prison industry and the commodification of prisoners. Presented at the 62nd annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (August 16–18, 2012). Denver, CO.Google Scholar
  36. Progressive Platform of 1912. (1912). Teaching American history. Accessed 23 May 2014.
  37. Reich, R. (2008). Supercapitalism: The transformation of business, democracy, and everyday life. New York: Vintage press.Google Scholar
  38. Reich, R. (2014, April 19). We are living in a new Gilded Age of wealth and power. Salon. Accessed 26 May 2014.
  39. Saez, E. (2013). The evolution of top income in the United States. Center for Equitable Growth, UC Berkley. Accessed 15 July 2014.
  40. Schabner, D. (2013). Americans: Overworked, overstressed. ABC News. Accessed 13 July 2014
  41. Smith, H. (2012). Who stole the American dream? New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  42. Soni, S. (2013, December 30). Welcome to the New America: Low wage nation. The Nation. Accessed 15 July 2014.
  43. Standing, G. (2014). The precariat: The new dangerous class. London: Bloomsburg Academic.Google Scholar
  44. Steger, M. B., & Roy, R. K. (2010). Neoliberalism: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Taylor, A. (2011, October 28). Top one percent has nearly quadrupled income since 1979. The Christian Science Monitor. Accessed 26 May 2014.
  46. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (1948). The United Nations. Accessed 24 July 2014.
  47. U. S. Census Bureau. (2013). Historical income tables: People. Accessed 14 July 2014.
  48. Violence Against Trade Unionists in Colombia. (2011). US labor education in the Americas project. Accessed 7 July 2014.
  49. Viveiros, J., & Brennan, M. (2013). An annual look at the housing affordability challenges to America’s working households. Center for housing policy. Accessed 13 July 2014.
  50. Wacquant, L. (2009). Punishing the poor: The neoliberal government of social insecurity. London: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wacquant, L. (2010). Crafting the neoliberal state: Workfare, prisonfare, and social insecurity. Sociological Forum, 25(2), 197–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wilson, J. W. (1997). When work disappears: The world of the new urban poor. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  53. Young, C. (2012). Losing a job: The non-pecuniary cost of unemployment in the United States. Social Forces, 91(2), 609–634.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and CriminologyBarry UniversityNorth MiamiUSA

Personalised recommendations