Globalization is the lead story of the new century, but its roots reach back nearly one hundred years, to major corporations' quest for stable, inexpensive, and pliant sources of labor. Before the largest companies moved beyond national boundaries, they crossed state lines, abandoning the industrial centers of the Eastern Seaboard for impoverished rural communities in the Midwest and South. In their wake they left the decaying urban landscapes and unemployment rates that became hallmarks of late twentieth-century America. This is the story that Jefferson Cowie, in a stunningly important work of historical imagination and rediscovery (Nelson Lichtenstein), tells through the lens of a single American corporation, RCA.
Capital Moves takes us through the interconnected histories of Camden, New Jersey; Bloomington, Indiana; Memphis, Tennessee; and Ju rez, Mexico--four cities radically transformed by America's leading manufacturer of records and radio sets. In a sweeping narrative of economic upheaval and class conflict, Cowie weaves together the rich detail of local history with the national--and ultimately international--story of economic and social change.
About the Author
Jefferson Cowie is a professor of labor history and the chair of the department of labor relations, law, and history at Cornell University. He is the author of Capital Moves: RCA's Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor (The New Press), which received the 2000 Philip Taft Prize for the Best Book in Labor History, and of Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class (The New Press), which received the Francis Parkman Prize for the Best Book in American History from the Society of American Historians and the Merle Curti Award from the Organization of American Historians. He lives in Ithaca, New York.