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The Crisis of Labor and Collapse of American Values in Neoliberal Capitalism in Lynn Nottage’s Sweat

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2019, 32(1), pp.5-33
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama
  • Published : April 30, 2019

Kang, Hyeong-min 1

1건국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Since the early 1980s, neoliberal capitalism has supported free trade, free market, tax cut, reduction of social welfare, deregulation, and finacialization, etc. in order to maximize the profits and gains for the globalized multinational corporations and huge capitals in the developed countries. In the U.S., NAFTA, a strategy of neoliberlism, became effective in 1994 although many people were concerned about losing the U.S. jobs to Mexico because of the wage gaps between the two countries. Therefore, from the beginning, NAFTA was for the manufacturers and capitalists in the U.S., not for the common workers not just in the U.S. but in Mexico. Lynn Nottage, in Sweat, dramatizes the negative effects of losing jobs on the common steel workers in Reading, Pennsylvania, because of NAFTA. Nottage shows that jobs could move one day to another country in NAFTA. Those exported jobs would not just hurt common workers financial and mental stability; they would eventually undermine the fundamental American values such as the American Dream and Melting Pot. Therefore, Nottage asks common workers to build up understanding and solidarity among themselves beyond the differences of race, gender, nationality, etc. in order to cope with and eventually get over the ordeal from this exploitative neoliberal system.

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