History Of Work

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Master's September 2001

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Work in America Over the past two centuries, work in America has gone from manual labor to work done by machines and computers. This is due to the introduction of technology into the 20th century. The technology trend will continue well into the 21st century. Those workers that continue to update their skills or those with college degrees will be the workers with the jobs.

The history of work in America is found in manufacturing goods by hand labor and simple tools. Carnevale (1991) states "The two major economic eras, those of craft production and industrial mass production, preceded and influenced the economies. The age of craft production was characterized by the autonomy of skilled farmers, miners, and artisans. Each artisan usually worked in a single medium, such as cloth, wood, metal, glass, or leather. Both the medium and tools were subservient to the skill" (p. 4).

"The character signature of the mass production was the rationalization of economic activity: amplifying the increasing the scale of activity in order to reduce large quantities at lowest cost" (Carnevale, 1991, p.

4). As a result of large quantities of good being produced, the independent craftsmen were unable to compete with organized labor (Carnevale, 1991).

The start of the 1800's saw a half-century of restriction in trade and high taxes on goods from European countries. Due to the restriction and high taxes, America was forced to increase production their own products for consumption (Carnevale, 1991). Carnevale (1991) writes, "Yet, as late as the 1860's only 14 percent of America worked in manufacturing and 53 percent still worked in agriculture" (p.7).

As America moved into the 1900's, jobs were moving from the farms into urban areas. America was beginning to produce a workforce that required special training or an education. (Carnevale, 1991) "The urban...