Over the last few years, a growing numbers of authors have convincingly argued that America’s social order is in a deepening crisis. Among these studies are: Louis Uchtelle, The Disposable American (2007); Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine, (2008); Don Peck, Pinched (2011); Donald Barlett and James Steele, The Betrayal of the American Dream (2012); D. W. Gibson, Not Working (2012); and Barbara Garson, Down the Up Escalator (2013).
These and other writers argue that the Great Recession and the still-unfulfilled recovery — what economist Paul Krugman identified as the Second Great Depression — bespeaks something more then just one more capitalist crisis, another speed-bump in globalization. It is restructuring the nation’s economic life, with profound political, social and personal consequences. One can wonder if this restructuring is fostering a new social order best conceived of as “postmodern serfdom”?