This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, which is to put the present economic crisis and its impact on workers in historical perspective, situating recent developments in the context of previous economic crises that have marked the industrial era. For, while much as been written about the origins and impact of the present crisis, most of it treats that crisis in historical isolation, and most of it treats workers as mere casualties or as an afterthought, if at all. The volume is premised on the notion that the historical contextualization of the present economic crisis demands an approach that is both transnational and cross-disciplinary, and one that takes the experiences of working people seriously. The chapter then discusses the long view of economic crises and workers' agency in an era of global transformation. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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