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Shaping the Future of Work by Thomas A. Kochan

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CHAPTER 2

What Was the Postwar Social Contract, Where Did It Come From, and What Made It Work for Three Decades?

Throughout this book I borrow the concept of a “social contract” first developed by Jean Jacques Rousseau and other philosophers to describe the ideal relationship between citizens and their government to capture what I believe constitutes a social contract at work. By the social contract at work I mean the mutual expectations and obligations workers, employers, and their communities and societies have regarding work and employment relationships. In this chapter I bring this concept to life by describing the central feature of the social contract that emerged out of the New Deal labor legislation of the 1930s and took hold after the ...

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