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2 SuperStock/Corbis & Glowimages/Corbis The Evolution of the American Workplace and Workforce Chapter Contents 2.1 The Evolution of the American...

Do you wish life were less McDonaldized, Why or why not? ( 2 paragraphs minimum)

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CHAPTER 2 Prologue Prologue With an understanding of the foundational framework of sociology as a social science and the major sociological theories, we can proceed to examine the workplace from a socio- logical perspective. This chapter explores the structure of the workplace, starting with the history of work in the United States and ending with who the workers are today. We examine how institutions of work have been modified over time in the United States and how these changes affect the workforce. We also investigate social issues of the diverse workforce of today. 2.1 The Evolution of the American Workplace T homas Jefferson’s vision of the United States as expressed in the words of the United States Constitution relied on a spirit of self-determination and independence. Jefferson imagined a nation consisting of a vast community of self-sufficient farms interspersed with a few cities providing business, academic, and cultural centers. Industry was to be sec- ondary to farming by supplying the machinery, fuel, and dry goods necessary to operate farms. The new government reflected these values by balancing power between the central govern- ment and the states and territories, with govern- ment leaders representing the needs and rights of citizens. This paradigm of self-determination and indepen- dence is still important today, although farming, industry, and government have significantly differ- ent roles. These structures have evolved rapidly and sometimes concurrently, dramatically affecting the social experience of workers. Historical factors also influence the workplace and the workforce. The steady increase in the U.S. population and the result- ing expansion of business after the Industrial Revolu- tion launched the United States into modernity, as discussed in Chapter 1. In the modern world, growth and expansion are common factors in both commu- nities and workplace structures. From Agriculture to Industry America’s farm practices have changed rapidly from growth and expansion. In the past 50 years, most farms in the United States have transitioned from individually owned enterprises to large farms owned by corporations. The shift has affected how farms are managed and also the social experience of workers. The impact of these changes can be understood by examining the previous 150 years of farm- ing tradition. By the end of the 18th century, the population of the United States was esti- mated at approximately 4 million people, of which 90% were working on farms (Spielmaker, Ken Welsh/photolibrary Thomas Jefferson envisioned the United States as an agrarian society in which industry came second to farming.
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I wish life were not so easy as what the fast food giant makes it to be. Everything cannot happen
in a jiffy. There are realities of life that have to be faced. In making crucial decisions one...

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