George's Reviews > Caught in the Middle: America's Heartland in the Age of Globalism

Caught in the Middle by Richard C. Longworth
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's review
Aug 31, 09

really liked it
bookshelves: first-reads
Read in August, 2009

DESPERATION, DESOLATION AND DESPAIR; amidst the “decay of decline.” Those are the good things to be said for the mid-western United States in the early twenty-first century.

The message Richard C. Longworth has to deliver to the Midwest, in his excellent, comprehensive, aptly named book, ‘Caught in the Middle,’ seems to be: ‘The industrial age is gone. Forever. Get over it.’ This is the age of Globalization. You bet big, in the past, on heavy industry and small farms; and you won big for a hundred years. But those days are really over. For good.

As he cogently makes clear, the days of the high-paid, low skilled, industry-jobs are gone. Though much of the region stays in denial. Today, “Basically, any job that does not require face-to-face contact with a customer can be outsourced.” –pg. 11 Hundreds-of-thousands of jobs in manufacturing and farming already have been.

Longworth makes the strongest pro-immigrant labor argument I’ve ever read. Thank-you. He even goes so far as to draw a connection between the percent of foreign-born residents in a city’s population with its outlook for promise and prosperity. I mostly agree with his commentary on immigrant labor—it is a net economic gain for all concerned—but for me the jury’s still out as to whether the presence of a low-paid immigrant work force is more a cause of, or more an effect of promise and prosperity.

The author relates that, “Month’s of travel and study through the towns and cities of the Midwest have made up my mind. The Midwest needs all the immigrants it can get.” “Wherever they have gone in the Midwest, immigrants have enriched their new homes—occasionally, even saved them from a slow death.”—pg. 138 There’s really nothing new in this. It was hard-working, foreign-born labor, albeit mostly European, that built the big industries in the region, and the Midwest itself, to begin with.

Recommendation: This is an insightful read for anyone interested in 21st century economics, especially as regards the impact of globalization on societies and cultures. In the words of the song, ‘The times, they are a’changin’." Big time.

Won from First Reads
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Bebe (new) - added it

Bebe Based on your review I will add this to my to-read list. Maybe it is time for you to contact a few publishing companies and write the synopsis and the credit for new books. I know you have it in you!!!!!!!!!!!

George Bebe,

I plan to give my copy of this book to Dale, next... Please let her know you'd like it next.

message 3: by Dale (new) - added it

Dale I agree with Bebe, George! You would be great at writing synopsis and/or in a review position. I always look forward to reading your reviews.

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