A provocative analysis of labor, globalization, and environmental harm by the award-winning historian and author of A History of America in Ten Strikes.
In the current state of our globalized economy, corporations have no incentive to protect their workers or the environment. Jobs moves seamlessly across national borders while the laws that protect us from rapacious behavior remain bound by them. As a result, labor exploitation and toxic pollution remain standard practice.
In Out of Sight, Erik Loomis—a historian of both the labor and environmental movements—follows a narrative that runs from the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City to the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2013. He demonstrates that our modern systems of industrial production are just as dirty and abusive as they were during the Industrial Revolution and the Gilded Age. The only difference is that the ugly side of manufacturing is now hidden in faraway places where workers are most vulnerable.
In this Choice Outstanding Academic Title, Loomis shows that the great environmental victories of twentieth-century America—the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the EPA—were actually union victories. Using this history as a call to action, Out of Sight proposes a path toward regulations that follow corporations wherever they do business, putting the power back in workers’ hands.
“The story told here is tragic and important.” —Bill McKibben
“Erik Loomis prescribes how activists can take back our country—for workers and those who care about the health of our planet.” —Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)