Off the Shelf: Guian McKee

Guian McKee, associate professor of history, "The Problem of Jobs: Liberalism, Race, and Deindustrialization in Philadelphia." University of Chicago Press
March 24, 2009 – "The Problem of Jobs" reveals that fights against unemployment and economic inequality did not collapse after the New Deal, but instead began to flourish at the local rather than the national level.

With a focus on Philadelphia, this volume illuminates the central role of these local political and policy struggles in shaping the fortunes of city and citizen alike. In the process, it tells the remarkable story of how Philadelphia's policymakers and community activists energetically worked to challenge deindustrialization through an innovative series of job retention initiatives, training programs, inner-city business development projects and early affirmative action programs. Ultimately interpreting economic decline as an arena for intervention rather than a historical inevitability, "The Problem of Jobs" serves as a timely reminder of policy's potential to combat injustice.

"Guian McKee lays bare the specific types of pragmatic, on-the-ground accomplishments that make employment the center of urban history," said Jefferson Cowie, associate professor of labor history at Cornell University.