The Industrial Revolution led to the creation of many large and mid-size companies in which people worked together to produce goods and/or deliver services. Having a good job meant working for one such company. These workers, many of them unionized, enjoyed relatively secure, stable jobs and a number of company benefits, including health care insurance, vacations and retirement pensions.
This corporate capitalism era, - characterized by hierarchically organized institutions, - reached its height in the US in the period following World War 2, when the country craved a sense of stability following the pain and chaos of the Great Depression and the war years. But those days are long gone. In the more recent past, these relatively slow moving organizations were not able to keep up with fast changing technologies and markets, nor could individuals assume that being loyal to a company would translate into a secure job with good benefits.
In its stead, we are seeing the rise of what The Economist called the On-Demand Economy in a recent article. “Ever since the 1970s,… Manufacturing jobs have been automated out of existence or outsourced abroad, while big companies have abandoned lifetime employment. Some 53m American workers already work as freelances.”