Critics’ Reviews

Barbara Pocock’s new book, The Labour Market Ate My Babies, takes a thorough look at the ways that work impacts on family life; and calls for an overhaul of the way society supports parents trying to simultaneously care for kids and pay household bills.

Pocock, an Adelaide academic who has written extensively on the social impacts of labour market, explores the shrinking capacity of Australian families to sustain themselves as parents become increasingly time-poor and consumption-dependent; women’s growing role in the workforce; the explosion in the for-profit childcare sector; and falling job security.

The ground covered by The Labour Market Ate My Babies is wide-ranging and interesting, but where it really shines is in its in-depth interviews with young people on how their parents’ work affects them and their future plans for work and family.

… In today’s IR climate, with WorkChoices whittling away working Australians’ conditions and bargaining power, Pocock’s voice is an important reminder of the human implications of unfair work laws.

[The full text of this review is available here:] – Workers Online, No 334, 24 November 2006

The Labour Market Ate My Babies deserves a wide audience, and very little of it assumes a familiarity with economic theory. The aim of the book is to explore some of the consequences for families and children of our increasing reliance on markets. Its unique contribution is to report these impacts from the perspective of a cohort of young people, principally teenagers, rather than focus on adult perceptions and problems.

… The Labour Market Ate My Babies provides compelling evidence that the conditions in which adults are employed shape not only their own experiences, but the attitudes of their children. We are only beginning to appreciate these intergenerational effects. Barbara Pocock has succeeded in showing why we should take seriously issues which, until now, have barely been mentioned in the debate over industrial relations ‘reform’. – Industrial Relations Society of South Australia Newsletter, April 2007

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