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The Spiritual Crisis of the Modern Economy

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  • The modern economy privileges the well-educated and highly-skilled, while giving them an excuse to denigrate the people at the bottom (both white and nonwhite) as lazy, untalented, uneducated, and unsophisticated.
  • Related: The Meaning Americans Find in Their Jobs

Victor Tan Chen, the Atlantic

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http://dy00k1db5oznd.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/GettyImages-590028618-1280x720.jpg What is happening to America’s white working class?

The group’s important, and perhaps decisive, role in this year’s presidential election sparked a slew of commentary focused on, on the one hand, its nativism, racism, and sexism, and, on the other, its various economic woes. While there are no simple explanations for the desperation and anger visible in many predominantly white working-class communities, perhaps the most astute and original diagnosis came from the rabbi and activist Michael Lerner, who, in assessing Donald Trump’s victory, looked from a broader vantage point than most. Underneath the populist ire, he wrote, was a suffering “rooted in the hidden injuries of class and in the spiritual crisis that the global competitive marketplace generates.”

Victor Tan Chen is an assistant professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University and the author of Cut Loose: Jobless and Hopeless in an Unfair Economy.

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https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/mt/2016/11/ij_banner/lead_960.jpg?1480521355 Related: 

The Meaning Americans Find in Their Jobs, Bourlee Lam and Adrienne Green, the Atlantic

  • Conversations with 100 people about their work and how it shapes who they are
  • "Work is “a search, too, for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying.” --Studs Terkel book, Working
  • Conversations with 100 people about their work and how it shapes who they are.

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