Dec 19, 2021 • 1HR 1M

Theory of Change #031: Farah Stockman on the meaning of work and what elites missed on free trade

Educated elites have ignored the problems of non-educated people and in the process made room for political radicalization


Appears in this episode

Matthew Sheffield
Lots of people want to change the world. But how does change happen? History is filled with stories of people and institutions that spent big and devoted many resources to effect change but have little to show for it. By contrast, many societal developments have happened without forethought from anyone. And of course, change can be negative as well as positive. In each episode of this weekly program, Theory of Change host Matthew Sheffield delves deep with guests to discuss larger trends in politics, religion, media, and technology.
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Episode Summary

All of us are much more than what we do for a living. And yet, when we lose a job or have trouble finding another one, we feel like we’re missing something important.

But work is about more than just something to do with your time or to feed your family. For many people, work is an entry point into larger society. It’s how many of us meet friends and form families. It’s also often the only way that we come into prolonged contact with people who are different from us.

After the 2016 election, a lot of Mid-Atlantic media outlets sent journalists on expeditions to Midwestern diners to see how a man who lied constantly with a record of failed businesses and broken marriages was able to become president. Some of the stories that came out of those forays were good, but a lot of them just barely scratched the surface, or actually got things wrong.

In today’s episode, we feature Farah Stockman, a New York Times editorial writer who is also the author of a new book called American Made: What Happens to People When Work Disappears. It’s an important look at what work means for people, and what progressives missed about free trade, manufacturing, and globalization.

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