In theory, labor shortages should compel employers to improve jobs to attract workers. But they don’t have to, as long as there are workers without rights whom they can exploit instead.
Erin Hatton is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Buffalo–SUNY. She is the author of Coerced: Work Under Threat of Punishment and The Temp Economy: From Kelly Girls to Permatemps in Postwar America
Capitalism runs on economic coercion, presenting most people with the choice to work or starve. But many workers, from prisoners to college athletes, face other types of coercion that exact a heavy cost for anyone who dares to tell the boss “no.”