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This was a necessary precondition for the Industrial Revolution.
But by the end of the ’50s, Winter had concluded that the future growth of Manpower was in replacing entire work forces.
He was uniquely positioned to teach corporate America how to reduce its work forces, since nearly all of the Fortune 500 companies used his services, and he tried to do so.
It is the severing of obligations between businesses and employees.
It is the collapse of the protections that the people of the United States, in our laws and our customs, once fought hard to enshrine.
Today’s smartphone app is an easy way to hire a temp, but is it really that much easier than picking up a phone was in 1950?
Indeed, shortly after World War II, a Milwaukee man named Elmer Winter founded Manpower, the first major temp agency, to supply emergency secretaries.
On the contrary, social change is typically driven by we make about how to organize our world.
Only later does technology swoop in, accelerating and consolidating those changes.
Likewise, when we talk about today’s economy, we focus on smartphones, artificial intelligence, apps.
Here, too, the inexorable march of technology is thought to be responsible for disrupting traditional work, phasing out the employee with a regular wage or salary and phasing in independent contractors, consultants, temps and freelancers — the so-called gig economy. The history of labor shows that technology does not usually drive social change.